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No. 2 • February 2, 2017 •

Planning Your Wedding

Couples Continue Two-Wedding Trend

Enjoy Bubbles on Any Budget

Women’s March 2017 Pics

The Sexiest Way to Celebrate Valentine’s

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Outword California Staff PUBLISHER Fred Palmer A RT DIRECTOR/ PRODUCTION Ron Tackitt GRA PHIC DESIGN Ron Tackitt EDITOR Charles Peer A RTS EDITOR Chris Narloch SA LES Fred Palmer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Diana Kienle Colt McGraw Chris Narloch Bonnie Osborn Charles Peer

Romance & Wedddings


by Fred Palmer, Publisher, Outword

e at Outword have been celebrating romance & weddings since before LGBT weddings were legal, and hook-up meant going out and actually meeting and talking to someone.

Outword Northern California is putting together our 22nd Annual Romance & Wedding issue, and for our online readers, we are also bringing you our first annual special issue in Outword California. Our launch of Outword California statewide last month was a huge success and we hope that you enjoy and share the pages with your friends free of charge, and free to subscribe to as well. Look for our Travel issue next month in March. During the month of February many of us celebrate dating, relationships and all things V day, but it is also OK to be happy with your single self too. The “and they lived happily ever after” is

really just a fairy tale because we all know that relationships take some work, communication, compromise and dedication. Romance can be whatever you want it to be and is really more a process of a trial and error to find what works for you. My advice is to be true to yourself and seek what you like without trying to fit into someone elses goal of what they want you to be. Be honest about what you like and what turns you on, and be open to trying new things to find out what you might be missing. If you have already found that special someone, then congratulations! If you are

planning on getting married please be sure to support and use the vendors in your local gay chambers, gay newspapers, and sponsors of your local gay events. There are many LGBT wedding expos with tons of vendors that would love to earn your hard earned gay dollar. If you have recently been married or got engaged please share your photo, announcement and a few words with our readers. Send your announcement to and we will run it free of charge. Thanks for reading Outword California – subscribe for free through our website

PHOTOGRA PHY Charles Peer Ron Tackitt ON THE COVER Jeff and Michael, wedding day. On this page, their wedding ceremony. Photos by Joan Cusick

A DVERTISING SA LES (916) 329-9280 Fred Palmer National Advertising Representative

Rivendell Media (212) 242-6863

Outword California Office

372 Florin Road, #133 Sacramento, CA 95831 PHONE: (916) 329-9280 FAX: (916) 498-8445

Photos by Joan Cusick


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February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

CA’s LGBT Caucus Will Oppose Trump’s Agenda


by Jann Dorothy

as there ever been a less visionary and more alarming leader in the U.S.? Donald Trump laid out his dark and dystopian view of America’s future on January 20th and it was short on hope and unity, but long on despair and muscularity.

Trump painted a bleak picture through the words and phrases he used in his inaugural address — lost jobs, struggling families, rusted-out factories, crime, gangs and drugs. He looked at his word canvas and then proclaimed its title: “American carnage.” The shock of Trump’s electoral victory has frightened many Americans far and wide, among them LGBT citizens. Trump’s happy talk that he’d be “better for the gay community” belies the hateful choices he made for his vice president and cabinet, a veritable who’s-who of homophobia. Trump is using his divisive rhetoric to pursue his clenched-fist dictates, but when it comes to California, he is already hitting roadblocks. Our state’s leaders, reflecting the fact that California voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, have wasted no time in laying out their plans to vigorously oppose the Trump agenda. And on OUR side representing OUR interests are the members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. The LGBT Caucus was formed in 2002. Its mission is to champion legislation that advances equality and the rights of LGBT Californians and to present a forum for the California Legislature to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT community. Over the years, its members have introduced and passed a number of measures supporting gay rights. Formation of the LGBT Caucus made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openlyLGBT state legislators. The California LGBT Caucus currently has eight members. Meet these four women and four men below. Assemblymember Evan Low was elected Chair of the LGBT Caucus on January 11, 2017. He is the first API legislator to serve in this important post. Assemblymember Low has been at the forefront of groundbreaking legislation that advances equality and social justice for LGBT citizens. Senator Ricardo Lara was elected Vice Chair of the LGBT Caucus also on January 11. A champion of civil rights, Senator Lara has introduced three “Fight for California” bills to stand against Trump’s wall and Muslim registry. Senator Toni G. Atkins served as Speaker of the Assembly before being 4

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LGBT Caucus Chair Assemblymember Evan Low

elected to the state senate last year. She has long been a powerful advocate for women, the LGBT community, and a champion for veterans, individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Assemblymember Susan Eggman is the former Chair of the LGBT Caucus. An Army veteran, Eggman is a strong voice for veterans and women. A proud Latina, Eggman was the recipient of the 2015 Freedom from Fear Award presented by the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento. Senator Cathleen Galgiani was elected to the Senate in 2012. She has sponsored bills relating to HIV treatment and women’s reproductive health.

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes was elected to her seat in the Assembly in November 2016, defeating a Republican incumbent by a large margin. Prior to her public service, she worked as a Director for the California Voter Registration Project. Assemblymember Todd Gloria was also elected in November 2016. Before his election to the Assembly, he served on the San Diego City Council. Senator Scott Weiner was elected in the November 8, 2016 general election. Before his election to the Senate, he served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. These members of the California LGBT Caucus proudly serve their districts and all LGBT Californians. Let’s support each of them as they stand up to Trump on behalf of us all. Jann Dorothy is a communications and political consultant in Sacramento. She is President of the Sacramento Stonewall Democratic Club. Contact her at President@

Report Suggests LGBT Businesses Add $1.7 Trillion to U.S. Economy


We speak LGBT (QQIP2SAA, too!)

he National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), a business voice of the LGBT community, has released its first ever snapshot demonstrating the economic and social impact of America’s LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs. The “America’s LGBT Economy” report explores the revenues, types, sizes, and geography of LGBT-owned businesses currently certified by the NGLCC, as well as the number of jobs they create and the personal narratives of successful LGBT business owners who reflect the very best about America’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Key findings in the report include: In 2015, NGLCC certified LGBT Business Enterprises

(LGBTBEs) alone contributed over $1.15 billon to the US economy; if all estimated LGBT-owned businesses in America are projected, their contribution to the economy exceeds $1.7 trillion; Over 900 Certified LGBTBEs have created over 33,000 jobs in the United States; LGBTBEs have an average revenue of $2,475,642, with at least one LGBTBE reporting $180,000,000 in annual gross; Average LGBT enterprises have been in business at least 12 years — far above national average, as some reports state nearly half of small businesses fail in

their first five years; The number of non-white LGBT business owners continues to increase annually — now at over 17 percent, bolstered by NGLCC’s leadership in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) which brings together all minority business communities; “The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is elated to be able to evidence through this report what we’ve observed since our founding fifteen years ago: that America’s LGBT business owners are driving our economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating jobs and innovating our industries. The estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners NGLCC advocates for have truly earned a place at the equality table,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “If you are an LGBT business owner and not yet certified, you’re leaving opportunities on the table to help your business and our economy grow. For the LGBT community, this also means we are missing out more accurate data, role models, job creators, and future success stories that prove ‘If you can buy it, a Certified LGBTBE can supply it.’” The “America’s LGBT Economy” report can be viewed and downloaded at www.

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916-352-6767 Bonnie Osborn, President

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Duy Ngo: Community Hero by Connie Wardman


s the May 26 through June 4, 2017 date for the Miami World Outgames inches ever-closer, Duy Ngo’s work load with the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA), the rights-holder to the OutGames, will undoubtedly tend to increase.

And it won’t end when this year’s Miami Games are over; close to 10 OutGames editions have been produced globally in the decade since its inception in 2006. GLISA North America has a working board of directors staffed by volunteers that are active, something requiring those involved to have a huge commitment to the organization’s cause of supporting the LGBTQ community to “compete, connect and learn.” It requires community heroes. And that is certainly a good description of Ngo and his role as GLISA NA’s vice-president. Part of Ngo’s duties in this volunteer role are to execute the organization’s digital media platform (website, social media, email campaigns, etc.), coordinate brand stewardship, manage internal information technology systems, provide external communications and engage in partnership development. And part of his special involvement in the LGBTQ community is to participate in various forums relating to LGBT sports, including the #LGBTSportsSummit in connection with Connect meetings. If that were not enough, he also assists with host selection and promotional activities for the OutGames. For the upcoming Miami World OutGames as well as past events, GLISA awards the rights to a host city and then works closely with the local committee to plan and implement the host city’s vision of the OutGames. That can include making connections, building partnerships, advising on strategy, providing information and resources as well as promoting the OutGames itself. Finally, GLISA serves as the legacy host for each completed OutGames. When asked what the best thing is about working with GLISA NA, Ngo describes the organization using words like “nimble” and “agile,” ones that encourage individual initiatives and foster creative freedom. “We are a diverse collection of fearless dreamers and passionate good-doers. My colleagues are amazing and generous human beings,” he said. “Naturally, such an environment produces out-of-the box approaches to projects and exciting partnerships. My work at GLISA North America informs and enriches other parts of my life, empowering me to strive for the same level of ambition and achievement.” And he was just made a member of GLISA’s international board and chair of its communications and technology committee. But GLISA isn’t his only passionate 6

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February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

commitment. Ngo is tennis player, a member of the Los Angeles Tennis Association (LATA), one of the largest and oldest LGBTQ sports organizations in the U.S. As part of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Association’s (GLTA) global tennis consortium, LATA sponsors many of GLTA’s U.S. tournaments in which he plays on a regular basis. And if his wheels weren’t already going fast enough, he recently took up spinning. Ngo’s day job is working in asset management for Mobilitie, LLC, the largest privately-held telecommunications infrastructure company in the U.S. So while this job isn’t directly involved in the LGBT community, it is tangentially if you consider the company’s technologies that power mobile connectivity to such apps as Grindr. If that counts as involvement, then his job also helps support the LGBTQ community. It’s hard to imagine how Ngo finds time to fit in everything he manages to accomplish. When asked if he had any special achievements in his life, his response was, “I am of the opinion that the strength to get up

Duy Ngo

every morning to pursue one’s passion and to live life in accordance with one’s values is enough of an achievement.” Ngo also talked about the insidious nature of staying silent, referencing a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Congratulations to you, Duy Ngo for not being silent – no wonder you are a community hero! Connie Wardman is editor-in-chief of Compete Magazine. Visit Compete at www.

Are the Benefits of Marriage Worth the Potential Additional by Jason Russel, CPA Tax Expenses?


arriage is a wonderful thing, right? More so for same sex couples who have only been able to enjoy such a human right for at most nine years in the state of California.

America’s longest continuously-published and highest circulation LGBTQ newspaper congratulates Fred Palmer and team on the January 2017 debut edition of

@ebarnews @LGBTsf


Outword California

However, as with any right come consequences, more so in the area of taxation which does not discriminate for opposite sex couples as much as same-sex couples. When talking about marriage and money, most experts talk about the tax advantages of getting married. However, these tax advantages are often only available to married partners with large disparities in income. Sadly, spouses who earn similar amounts of money – especially those who are considered high earners – are often subject to a marriage tax penalty. What is the marriage tax penalty? When you marry, you have the option of filing your tax return jointly, or filing separate tax returns. The marriage penalty takes effect when the taxes you pay jointly exceed what you would have paid if each of you had remained single and filed as single filers. The marriage penalty is the opposite of what many call the marriage bonus. In a marriage bonus situation, you pay less in taxes because of your married status. The marriage bonus is most likely seen in partnerships where one spouse earns significantly less than the other. Situations in which one spouse stays at home or has a part-time job rather than a full-time job are most likely to result in a marriage bonus. For those with low incomes, the marriage penalty doesn’t usually apply. For tax year 2016, the 15 percent tax bracket tops out at $36,900 in annual taxable income for single filers, while the upper limit is exactly twice that for married couples. Things change in the 25 percent tax bracket though. For a single filer, this bracket ends at an income of $89,350. If you simply doubled that number to get the top amount for joint filers, you’d see $178,700. But, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. For 2016, the 25 percent tax bracket ends at $148,850 for married couples filing jointly. Thus, they find themselves penalized for their combined income. If you make $50,000 in taxable income and your partner makes $15,000 working part time, you benefit from marriage. As a single person, your $50,000 income would put you in the 25 percent bracket while your partner paid in the 15 percent bracket. Marriage, though, brings you down to the 15 percent bracket, since your combined income of $65,000 is within ranges. As your incomes climb, and as partners

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see more parity in their earnings, the marriage penalty becomes more pronounced. Take the top tax bracket: As a single person, your income has to be at least $406,750 to reach the 39.6 percent level. If you are married filing jointly, you end up in the highest tax bracket when your combined income reaches at least $457,600. That’s a difference of $50,850. If you and your partner each earn $300,000 a year, filing individually would put you each in the 33 percent bracket. File jointly, though, and now you’re in the 39.5 percent bracket. Other Penalties Other penalties include phase outs for certain credits and deductions. Phase outs for personal exemptions and itemized deductions in 2016 begin at $250,000 adjusted gross income for singles and $300,000 for joint filers. You can see how the marriage penalty can impact your ability to reduce taxable income. Also, new taxes on investing and Medicare because of the Affordable Care Act impact married couples considered high earners, since the threshold is $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for joint filers. So, if you and your partner both make $150,000, neither of you is subject to the new taxes as singles, but as joint filers you are subject to the new taxes (depending on how much of your income comes from wages versus investing). The bottom line: As you prepare to tie the knot, it makes sense to consider the tax implications of your marriage. In some cases, you can benefit with the married filing separately status. Filing separately doesn’t bring the brackets in line with single filers, though, and you must figure out how to divide up your deductions. The best advice we can provide is to consult a tax professional to help you run the numbers to see what getting married would cost in regards to your taxes. You must also consider the hundreds of other benefits of marriage such as, healthcare, surviving spouse social security benefits, and the tax-free asset transfer upon death. Least of all do not forget all of the non-financial reasons to be married. Jason Russell, CPA, is the owner of Russell CPAS and has experience with both large and small clients. He is the treasurer of the Sacramento Zoological Society, Capital City AIDS Fund and Nor Cal AIDS Challenge (NCAC). He can be reached at jason@

Donald Trump and the Von Trump Family Singers Now on-stage in Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon

Donald and Melania Trump and the Von Trump Family Singers – Eric, Baron, Ivanka, Jared Kushner, Donald Jr. and Tiffany – have joined the cast of Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running musical revue in the world. Listen to The Don sing/tweet “Let me entertain you; Let me tell a lie; Let me send a few tweets; Some nasty and ‘screw you’ tweets; Just kiss the truth goodbye.” For tickets visit or call the box office at 415-421-4222.

A Conflicted Couple & a Polyamorous Trio Ignite the Flames of Romance in the Dramedy Throuple

When the problems they left behind resurface on a secluded Hawaiian island, hilarity, hallucinations, murder and mayhem ignite a mystery that will challenge and define the virtues of everyone involved in Throuple, a dark romantic comedy available on Netflix and VOD. Watch the trailer at

Love Is Blind Is the Gay Dating Show You’ve Been Waiting For: Real Guys, Real Dates, Real Laughs!

Cute, sexy, and very funny, with a sweet soupçon of snark, Love is Blind follows sixteen single New York City men on eight off-the-wall, unpredictable, and blind-as-a-bat first dates. Look for it at the gay subscription streaming service starting this Valentine’s Day (February 14).

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Outword California 9

Have Fun, But Be Safe on that First Date


aking your online conversations to a “real life” first date can be a thing to navigate. Dating sites see a surge in popularity this time of the year, so it’s likely that your first date with someone new may happen soon.

1. Know who your date is before you meet Check out your date’s social media profiles if you haven’t already. If you don’t see any linked accounts to their online dating profile, or the information from one social network to the next is not consistent, consider this a reason for more research before you meet in person. 2. Meet in a safe, public place Choose or suggest a public setting for your first date. No exceptions. If your date insists on meeting somewhere that sounds private, you might be talking to a sexual predator. Here are some good potential places: • A coffee shop. • A bowling alley. • A casual restaurant. 3. Never go to your home on the first or even second or third dates

Don’t drink alcohol. At all. Just don’t do it...

For safety reasons, get to know your date before inviting them to your home – or going to theirs. The consequences of meeting your date for the first time at one of these places range from awkwardness and making your date feel uncomfortable – or in some cases, much worse. Being in any secluded or personal environment with a stranger can be dangerous. 4. During the date • Be yourself. If you lie or aren’t genuine, you’re defeating the point of dating in the first place. • Don’t share the same drink. • Don’t drink alcohol. At all. Just don’t do it. Logically speaking, too many bad things can consequently happen. A first date is not the time for alcohol. • Have an exit strategy if things aren’t going well; like calling or texting a friend.

by Justin Lavelle

• Have your own transportation to and from the place you meet. 5. First date red flags: Be skeptical of someone who seems… • Too eager to become involved. • Overly interested in your finances. • Overly interested in the intimate details of your past relationships. • Overzealous in their efforts to please you. • Temperamental (example: they yell at the barista because their cappuccino wasn’t frothy enough). Justin Lavelle is Communications Director for PeopleLooker (, a service that gives you fast, affordable, and easy access to public records where you can find out ages, marital status, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, criminal records, and more.

A Look at “Alternative Facts” Surrounding Prenups

by Neil M. E. Forester, Esq.


renups get a bad rap. For whatever reason (celebrity drama, movie plotlines, click-bait headlines), prenuptial agreements have garnered a reputation for destroying the very bedrock of the bond between two people.

In a new age of “alternative facts,” the seemingly destructive power of the prenup blurs the truth. Prenup negotiations can be creative, romance-affirming, and bondsolidifying for any marrying couple. Let’s take the most commonly perceived “alternative facts” about prenups and shine the light of truth: • Alternative Fact 1: Prenups are Romance Killers. Actual Truth: Prenups allow a couple to decide between themselves how to conduct their relationship, and can even discard basic principles of state law in favor of their own preferences. State Legislatures determine the rules for marriages and domestic partnerships – rules not always logical or reasonable to every person who marries. What could be more romantic than a couple working together to chart their own course in life? To cast off antiquated notions of what marriage should be and make their own rulebook? That is the definition of empowerment, and empowerment is nothing if not romantic. 10 Outword California

• Alternative Fact 2: Prenups are often unenforceable. Actual Truth: A prenup done badly could be unenforceable. But the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (laws that govern prenups) has been adopted in over half of the U.S. states, and has been proposed for adoption in several more. This means for most of us, as long as the terms of these rules are met, the enforceability of prenups is not issue. The rules mostly concern whether the soon-to-bespouses are apprised of all relevant information before signing, and that one spouse is not getting an unfair advantage over the other. Assuming the prenup has all of the required bells and whistles, enforcement should not be a problem. • Alternative Fact 3: Prenups cost thousands of dollars. Actual Truth: Prenups only cost as much as the time and complexity required in each situation. In second or third marriages, a prenup will have more moving parts to address mature estates with real property

holdings, inheritances, business interests, and retirement accounts. In cases where spouses bring fewer assets or even children to the union, a prenup can be very simple and straightforward. While legal fees can vary (and you should ask about billing practices when interviewing family law attorneys), a prenup should not break the bank unless the spouses are very wealthy (in which case they have a much larger bank to break). • Alternative Fact 4: Only rich people need prenups. Actual Truth: Every married couple has a prenup whether they know it or not. Enacted by our State Legislature, it’s called the Family Code – and most couples have absolutely no idea what the Family Code says or how it affects their individual relationships. Every couple can benefit by discussing and drafting a very simple prenup – after all, who wants our elected officials to decide how our individual property rights are determined, or how much money someone is going to get if the relationship falters? Those

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Neil M. E. Forester

are very personal issues, and a simple prenup can vest the authority for that decision making in the people most affected by those issues. We live in an unpredictable world, and contingency planning is never a bad thing. Most people would never consider throwing everything they own on black in life’s game of roulette without a safety net of some kind. Sometimes life comes up red, after all. And when it does, a well drafted and thoughtfully considered prenup can ease the pain of an unexpected downturn in a relationship. So don’t turn your nose up at a prenup – they really are there to help you, despite what those pesky alternative facts might insinuate. Seek out solid legal advice before getting hitched – a good prenup can really get your marriage off to a great start! Neil M. E. Forester is a Shareholder of Forester Purcell Stowell and is identified by the California State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Family Law Specialist. He can be reached via email at, or by phone at 916-293-4000.

Food For Thought Food Bank 15th Annual Dining Out For Life Fundraiser Breaks Records in 2016


hursday, December 1, 2016 wasn’t just business as usual for Food For Thought, a Forestville, CA-based nonprofit dedicated to feeding people with HIV and other serious illnesses. It happened to be both World AIDS Day and their biggest annual fundraiser, Dining Out For Life.

restaurants to participate. We get very little 90 Sonoma County restaurants from 16 different cities signed up to donate 25%-50% government funding, so Dining Out For Life of that day’s sales to fund Food For Thought’s is crucial to keep our programs going.” HIV remains a significant challenge in life-giving nutritional programs. In addition,

Karen Ahn and guesst enjoying Dining Out for LIfe.

129 volunteer ambassadors were present at breakfast, lunch, or dinner shifts to thank diners for coming and to spread the word about Food For Thought. “It’s such an easy and delicious way to give back, and we’re so happy that Sonoma County really turned out in big numbers to help us meet our goal,” said Mary BigelowGale, events manager. Started during the height of the AIDS crisis, Food For Thought is a grassroots organization that provides free groceries, a congregate lunch program, nutrition education, and prepared meals for its almost 800 clients. Recently they expanded their mission to serve people dealing with other serious illnesses alongside HIV. They offer delivery to homebound and homeless clients as well. “We set a personal best in 2016,” said Karen Gardner, development director. “We raised more funds this year than any other (almost $165,000 at last count) and recruited a record number of Sonoma County

Sonoma County, as more people are affected by the epidemic than ever before. Dining Out For Life is an international event held in over 65 cities in the U.S. and Canada, raising $4 million annually for HIV/AIDS-related services. “The proceeds from Dining Out For Life ensure that we’re able to keep feeding our clients, who receive our services for free and for as long as they need them,” said Ron Karp, executive director of Food For Thought. “We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a generous and big-hearted community.” February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

Outword California 11

Make Planning Your Wedding Most Effective


edding Festivals, bridal shows, and wedding expos are all great places to gain ideas, provide the ability to comparison shop, and plan the perfect day in one day as you peruse and sample what local wedding professionals offer.

Here are a few tips to make your experience most effective:

Price: I hate to say it, but the old story rings true... you get what you pay for. When a producer offers a free show, you can bet that not only will there be couples seeking services for their event just like you, but there will also be folks just looking for free goodies, taking up the time that you really need with exhibitors in the hopes that they will win a prize. If you can, head to shows that have a small fee. It weeds through the “prize seekers”. Generally speaking, bridal show entry fees range from $5 - $20 per person, but are well worth the cost. If you are going to attend the latest trend of planning events, “wedding planning seminars” you can anticipate an entry fee of $30 - $150. Normally they include a meal (a champagne brunch, or dinner), seminar speakers on the how-to’s of wedding planning, a fashion show, and some provide live entertainment. It is typically a more intimate setting and you gain much more in depth inforamtion and infinitely more one on one time with providers.

The Fashion Shows:

Check the producer’s website to get the fashion show schedule, whether you are looking for attire or not. I say this because if you are NOT looking for attire it is the perfect time to gain more one on one time with providers. Couples flock to the stage during the fashion show making the perfect opportunity for couples to instead get some one on one time with providers to ask pertinent questions and gain a personal experience.

Shopping List:

Make a list (either yourself, or with the help of your wedding consultant) of the products and services to add to your shopping list. Be sure to write the budgetary allowance for each line item, so that you are prepared to stay within your budget. Have a discussion about budget BEFORE you head to planning events is a

good idea, but just keep in mind, once you establish your budget you can always pull budgetary emphasis away from one area to accentuate another area should you find that your vision is changing during the planning process. It is just good to have a baseline and a realistic understanding of what you are going to spend before heading to shows. The savings at these events can be deep, so it is easy to commit to things, but you don’t want to commit to things that detract from the overall objective. Have a list ready to create that baseline and you can keep each other accountable for spending by referring back to your list.

At the Show:

You can register at the front door and typically it is the registration forms that are used for contests and prize drawings. Please note: If the producer has not made their forms gender neutral, don’t be put off. They may be very welcoming but have just not considered that part of their business yet. We are working very hard to educate businesses and producers. Most of these businesses have been doing things the same way since the 80’s. It’s a process. If you are finding them on our site, rest assured their intention is good. Just cross things out to help them get the message. They will be grateful for the direction. This is a great time to negotiate. You can ask if they have any “show specials” this is the perfect buzz phrase for can you offer us a better price. It cannot hurt to ask, right? The worst that can happen is they say no, we do not have show specials and then you determine if at the quoted price if it fits your budget or if you need to go back to the drawing board.

Things you should bring to the event: • A notebook to write answers to questions you ask, get quotes for services, write ideas for thematic decor, etc. • Your wedding planner or consultant. He/she can assist you in asking the right questions regarding event planning, negotiating packages and terms, and may be able to steer you to the right booths based on their experience to the most reputable providers in the industry. • Your wedding timeline so that you can check off things that you were able to accomplish at the festival, show or expo. • Your cell phone. If your camera has a

photo feature, you can snap a few shots of the fashion shows, centerpieces, linens, thematic decor, logos of providers you love, rings, dishes, cakes, lighting, limos, etc... Take pictures of everything you love. You can always narrow things down by comparing pictures and deleting the ones that don’t make the cut. Additionally, take photos of any contracts you have signed so you have an immediate copy if they do not have duplicates readily available. • Pictures of ideas you have found in magazines, the internet, or in shops. You can show providers what you are interested in and gain their opinion. You might for example show a photo of a floral arrangement to a florist who asks when your wedding date is and points out that a particular flower in the arrangement is an exotic during that time of year and to be prepared for that in cost or recommend an alternate flower that is similar that will keep you in budget. This is what these events are all about... getting answers to questions and finding the perfect provider for your vision. • Your calendar to schedule consultations to meet after the event. Many times you will gain savings for having met them first at the event. You won’t sign a contract for a venue without first visiting it. • A list of questions to ask each type of provider. Check our website for How to Select particular providers, or questions to ask during the selection process. • Self addressed labels with your contact information and wedding date will save you A LOT OF TIME at any show. They are handy and a brilliant way to breeze through the tedious task of writing the same information 100 times in a day! Your labels should include your name, address, email address, phone number, and wedding date. If there are services that you have already secured, you may want to write on the labels (do not need a photographer, dj, etc.)... Most producers will have a note’s area for the attendee list that is shared with exhibitors after the event. Producers will typically insert that information, saving you from receiving unwanted mail from providers of service you already have. • Bring your check book in case you would like to secure services with a deposit on site. • Comfortable shoes. If the show is a

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large event (60 or more vendors) you will want to plan on spending 3 hours visiting with vendors. • Water! Just in case. • A friend or attendant. These things are so much fun with friends. Relax. This will be a great time for you to spend with your fiancé, friends and/or family to have some fun and enjoy the planning process.

After the Show: Take your fiance’ out for a nice lunch or dinner and talk about what you saw, reflect on providers and discuss your wedding plans. Run through your shopping list and your wedding plans and tally up where you are at and what your next plan is. Revisit your timeline and prioritize your spending and planning efforts based on what you have just seen. Talk about the thematic vision now that you have seen some of the latest trends. When following up with providers, remind them that you saw them at the event. They have just seen hundreds of couples in a short span of time. They want to give you personal attention and may be having defunct wedding expo memory... give them an opportunity to shine for you by jogging their memory a bit. Last bit of advice... Just enjoy this process. While you want to be responsible in your spending, this is the most wonderful time of your life together and it should be filled with fun, happy, loving memories. Focus on the love. The rest is just fluff. The cake will be eaten, the flowers will wilt, the food devoured, but your love for one another is a lifetime experience. Stay true to that and know that your wedding is a reflection of your LOVE for one another, not a measurement of your value or worth so make it wonderful and enjoy it as only you two can. Congratulations! We are so excited that you are here and allowing us to be a part of your planning. Kimberly Vaughan President/CEO, is a proud sponsor of the LGBT Wedding Expo produced by Outword Media, the International Wedding Festival, and other events that offer culture, diversity, and celebrate love! Outword California 13

Same-sex Couples Continue Two-Wedding Trend


ne year before gay marriage became legal in California, Matt Hurwitz and Bruce Walter of San Francisco decided they were ready to commit their lives to each other.

“Marriage equality wasn’t yet a reality, and though we were hopeful it would be in the near future, we just didn’t know when it would happen,” Matt said. So the couple exchanged vows on October 6, 2012, in front of 100 friends and family at a private home in Sonoma. Nine months later, the California Supreme Court reinstated same-sex marriage in the state of California. And three days before their anniversary, the couple officially exchanged vows in a low-key ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. “The City Hall wedding changed things,” Matt added. “Whether or not people support marriage equality, they have to acknowledge that we are legally married. We don’t have to explain what our relationship is and are able to use a common word – marriage – to define who and what we are to each other.” Many gay couples are opting to have two wedding ceremonies – one to tie the knot, and another to celebrate with friends and family. The trend may have started before same-sex weddings were legal nationwide, it continues as a viable option for many couples. For Jeff Buttell and Mike Roy of Fort Lauderdale, their first wedding ceremony came 10 days after a court ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriages in Florida. After

being together for more than 12 years, the couple was finally able to marry on January 16, 2015, with Jeff’s mother and aunt as witnesses. “We always planned to have a ceremony, and so for the next year and a half we planned and saved up money for the wedding we truly wanted to celebrate with our friends and family,” Jeff said. “We decided to get married in Sacramento on June 18, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency hotel, since most of my family and a large portion of my friends lived in California. “Getting legally married in Fort Lauderdale was amazing, but the ceremony and celebration with all our friends and family in California was life-changing.” On the same day Jeff and Mike married in Florida, Lauren and Caitlin Cusitello were planning a very small ceremony in Caitlin’s hometown of Chesapeake, Va. A lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, Caitlin was stationed in Yokohama, Japan at the time, but she and Lauren were back in the United States for a few weeks. On January 16, 2015, Caitlin and Lauren headed for the clerk’s office in Chesapeake, Virginia, to get their marriage license. But a sign on the door stopped them: Closed for Lee-Jackson Day. When they realized they would be unable to get a marriage license in

by Joan Cusick

Lauren (left) and Caitlin Cusitello at their first wedding. Photo by Joan Cusick

the entire state of Virginia, they headed a few miles south, to Currituck County, N.C. The clerk’s office was open there, and the marriage license was procured. The couple exchanged vows on a pier overlooking the Currituck Sound in front of nine immediate family members. Then, a year later, they hosted about 120 friends and family at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego. “We really did not want to make a big deal of the paperwork part of the marriage because we were concerned about taking away from ‘the big day.’ As it turned out, it wasn’t really up to us,” Caitlin said. The couple’s parents and stepparents “would never have let us pass the moment of signing our marriage license without

celebrating it. “I don’t think the paperwork piece of our marriage took away from our big wedding in terms of anticipation and excitement or in terms of the numbers of our friends and family who were able to make it out to San Diego to celebrate,” Caitlin added. “It did make the ceremony a little sillier as our officiant told everyone he couldn’t marry us because we were already married, but his sense of humor really set the tone for the kind of ceremony we wanted anyway.” Joan Cusick is a professional photographer in Sacramento specializing in portrait, wedding, sport and special event photography. She can be reached at www. or joancusickphoto

Bride Pride Turns Up The Heat With All-Girl Weddings


or the second consecutive year, women from all over the planet will converge on Provincetown to proclaim their love at Bride Pride, a group wedding and renewal ceremony scheduled to take place at Pilgrim Monument on July 22, during Girl Splash, Provincetown’s epic Women’s summer event. Award-winning political humorist and LGBTQ icon Kate Clinton will perform the ceremony. “Bride Pride is sure to turn some old Puritans over in their graves and I’m thrilled to be part of that,” Clinton said of the event. In honor of those who will marry and renew their vows at Bride Pride, creators/ producers Allison Baldwin and Ilene Mitnick will make a contribution to The True Colors Fund, Cyndi Lauper’s organization that works to bring an end to LGBT youth homelessness. “The True Colors Fund is honored to be the

beneficiary of Bride Pride in Provincetown,” said Cyndi Lauper, co-founder of True Colors Fund. “We’re excited to be a part of such a wonderful celebration of love and commitment.” “Last year, Bride Pride brought 106 women together, ages 27 to 72, from all over the country to celebrate their love with their tribe in a community that welcomed them with open arms and hearts,” said Baldwin and Mitnick, owners of the award-winning Roux Bed & Breakfast in Provincetown, If there are at least 100 couples, the brides

will become part of recorded history. The duo has applied to Guinness Book of World Records in an effort to capture the title for World’s Largest All-Girl Wedding. “This year’s event is planned to be even bigger and bolder,” said Baldwin. “Refusing to be invisible, we’re leaning into love. Our invitation is universal — we want brides from around the globe.” In the days leading up to and following the ceremony, the whole town will turn into a party, as Bride Pride celebrants join thousands of women in events planned for Girl Splash. “We wanted to create an

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amazing experience at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding,” Baldwin said. “Provincetown is the perfect backdrop for a wedding. It’s filled with stories of love, equality and acceptance and is meant to be shared with lovers. What better way to say “I Do” than surrounded by your tribe in the state where gay marriage was first made legal,” said Mitnick. Advance registration for Bride Pride is required. Visit bride-pride for registration and additional information. Outword California 15

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This Valentine’s Day Enjoy Bubbles on Any Budget

by Diana Kienle


s February begins, the stores are showing the bright red colors of Valentine’s Day – a time when our hearts turn toward expressions of love and romance, and for that nothing is more quintessential for the month than sparkling wine!

Real Champagne can be pricey, but there are many lovely expressions of sparkling wine that can fit the occasion and the pocket book. Sparkling wine is made all over the world, including in Champagne, France, which is the only place real Champagne comes from. It used to be that no other region could challenge the sparkling wine from Champagne, yet that is no longer so. Many wines, especially the sparkling wines of California, can provide the luxurious texture and flavors to rival Champagne. Sparkling wine is made in different ways, contributing to the difference in price. Large production wines fermented in steel tanks will, on average, be less expensive than wines whose secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle and which are aged slowly. As with any wine, location and vineyard management also contribute to the price. Champagne is known worldwide for the beauty and texture the region can deliver in a bottle. The grapes of Champagne are

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Two major contributors to the distinction of Champagne are the weather and the limestone-laced soils. Champagne is made using the “Méthode Traditionnelle,” an extensive process where the secondary fermentation (which produces the bubbles) takes place in the bottle that you purchase. (You can read more about that method at www.dianaswineblog. com/?p=1950.) These wines present with great acidity and a creamy texture. There are modestly priced Champagnes, yet great ones can cost in the hundreds of dollars. The most famous may be Dom Perignon. Some sparkling wines are produced using this traditional method, as well. One of the large production wines out of California is Roederer Estate Multi Vintage Brut. Wine Spectator frequently designates their wines as a “Smart Buy.” Other more expensive, well-crafted bottles come from Mumm and Schramsberg. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine made from the glera grape. This friendly sparkling

wine is produced by the “Charmat” method. The secondary fermentation is accomplished in large steel tanks rather than in the bottle. It has a simple fruity flavor with an appealing bitter edge. La Marca is a great example that is readily available in most stores. My personal favorite is Ruffino. These can be purchased for as little as $9 to $15. Moscato is the Italian word for muscat. In the area of Piedmont in Italy, it is made into a variety of sweet wine that presents with a fruity and floral aroma and flavor. It is used to make sparkling Asti and moscato d’asti. Inexpensive bottles are readily found and can be quite refreshing. All of these sparkling wines can add to the festivity of any occasion – especially that occasion with someone special. Enjoy! Diana Kienle is a freelance writer and blogs about wine at www.dianaswineblog. com. She can be reached at diana@

Improve Your Online Profile with Photos that Get Results


by Justin Lavelle

K, you’ve made the plunge and signed up for an online dating service, or maybe even a hook-up site — you never know where love is waiting for you. You’ve filled out all the questions, and now comes the hard part — choosing a photo to present the best you.

Here are some of the Best photo tactics to get (good) attention from your online dating profile: 1. Don’t cover your face Tinder’s in-house sociologist, Jess Carbino said one of the biggest mistakes you could make in your profile photo is covering your face. If you want to get noticed, you should ditch the hat, glasses, mask or move anything else that would be blocking your face. 2. Be aware of what you wear The clothing you wear in your profile photos creates a portrait of your personality. A Tinder study which analyzed 12,000 profile

photos found that most users are wearing clothing choices that do not make them stand out. Black is the most popular color to wear for men and women – followed by white, blue and grey. 3. Do something interesting You want to get people to respond to you based on your profile, but you also don’t want it to lead to nowhere. If a guy responds to a girl because she’s showing her cleavage, well, that’s not exactly the best beginning for a lasting relationship. Think about wanting to start a conversation with someone. A great way to do this is to show yourself doing something interesting in your photos. Like

playing guitar or volunteering. 4. Don’t smile Women who look directly into the camera with a flirty-kind of look get the most messages, as opposed to strictly smiling. However, “flirting away from the camera is the single worst attitude a woman can take.” In contrast, the dating site found that men who look away from the camera and don’t smile get more messages. 5. Take up a lot of space In a 2016 study, researchers created two separate profiles for three different men and women. In one set of profiles, the candidates posed for photos in contractive positions;

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like crossing their arms. And in the other set of profiles, the same candidates posed in expansive positions; like raising their arms up in a “V.” The photos in which the men and women were in expansive positions were selected more often than the contractive position photos. Also, men especially were found to be more attractive when they displayed open body language. Justin Lavelle is Communications Director for PeopleLooker (, a service that gives you fast, affordable, and easy access to public records where you can find out ages, marital status, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, criminal records, and more. Outword California 17

Gay(ish) V-Day Gifts Ideas For Your Special Someone by Mikey Rox


here’s a growing sect of society raining on everybody’s Valentine’s Day parade by crying foul on consumerism. It’s a Hallmark holiday, they shout. The candy companies just want your money, they howl. You know what we say? So what. Embrace it.

Candy is frickin’ delicious, and who doesn’t like a thoughtful card every now and then? Thus, go full in this Valentine’s Day and throw up a finger to its critics with this list of fab gifts from your gay heart to theirs.

her neck. Isabella Grace Jewelry’s handmade, recommendations: Angela Estate’s awardfine silver accent-charm necklace features winning 2013 Pinot Noir, Hazelfern Cellars’ both your names on separate arrowhead 2014 Williamette Valley Pinot Noir, or Van charms – so you’ll always be near each other’s hearts.

Whisk ’Em Away

DIY Steak & Wine Dinner

If you and bae are sweet on adventure, plan a getaway of fun and friskiness. Eat your weight in favorite foods with culinary tours from Avital Tours, available in select cities, or kick back and relax in the comfort

Skip the line at your area’s most popular restaurants in favor of a DIY dinner featuring perennial Valentine’s dinner staples: red meat and red wine. Snake River Farms offers three decadent Wagyu beef gifts

Duzer Vineyards’ 2013 Homestead Block Pinot Noir. To cap the night off, order a bottle of bubbly from that you can have hand-engraved to commemorate the special occasion.

Messages With Meaning Cards and flowers are old V-Day standbys, but you can add more flair to the tradition with mail from Punkpost, an app-based of the quaint bed and breakfasts on, which provides a comprehensive list of LGBT-friendly accommodations across the country.

door courtesy of MysteryPotato. Half-baked? Absolutely.

Big Spoon + Little Spoon Bracelets Wear your sleeping proclivities on your sleeve with the impossibly cute Big Spoon/ Little Spoon leather-wrap bracelets by Article 22. Made in Laos, the most heavily bombed country per capita in history, the bracelets feature detonated metal bomb scraps leftover from the Vietnam War in order to help clear the remaining 80 million active bombs that remain scattered around the country.

Same-Day Surprises Even the most committed procrastinators can aim Cupid’s arrow for the bulls-eye. App-based Spoil (iOS) aims to save the day for those who forgot to pick up a gift with same-day delivery of flowers; balloons; booze; and tasty treats, like donuts, macaroons, cupcakes, and cookies.

Custom-Printed Comic Book If you’re planning to pop the question this Valentine’s Day, skip all that knee jazz; ask your partner in crime to tie the knot with you by creating a custom comic book. will design a story from scratch using your memories and other personal details, the last page of which will reveal the big ask. The book also serves as a conversation piece and keepsake so you can relive the proposal over and over again.

Designer Sex Toys

Arrow to the Heart Necklace A bushel and a peck and a charm around that arrive with everything you need to whip up a chef-quality meal in your own kitchen, prepared on Lagostina’s new Nera HardAdonized Collection, available at Macy’s. Wash it all down with our red-wine 18 Outword California

that can be planted outside for years of enjoyment; or a lusty little note written on a spud (yep, that kind), delivered to your beau’s

service (iOS and Android) that sends left-ofcenter greetings featuring wink-and-a-nod wishes; the Captain Kirk and Spock “I love you/I know” Star Trek/Star Wars mash-up print; full-on fruit trees from PlantOGram

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Sex toys get the designer treatment from Luvoqa, which offers naughty sets of sensual playthings for men and women. Guys will shiver in ecstasy while wearing the Lelo Pino, a powerful vibrating ring, and ladyloving ladies will delight in the dual-vibrator We-Vibe Dreamy Desire Set. For even more convenience when doing the deed, check out nightstand-ready Pulse, an automatic dispenser that delivers warm lube with the wave of a hand.

ClexaCon Is a Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies


different kind of fandom deserves a different kind of convention and ClexaCon is for those fans who are LGBTQ women to celebrate queer female characters and stories, celebrities, creators, panelists, journalists and artists.

From March 3—5 at Bally’s and Paris in Las Vegas, panels, workshops, autograph sessions, and film screenings will bring together stars, fans, and creators for a convention of thier own, and certain proceeds will go to support the Trevor Project Celebrating representations of LGBTQ women in all genres, the exciting ClexaCon line-up includes Lost Girl’s Zoie Palmer (Lauren) and Rachel Skarsten (Tamsen); Wynonna Earp’s Dominique ProvostChalkley (Waverly) and Katherine Barrell (Nicole); South of Nowhere’s Gabrielle Christian (Spencer) and Mandy Musgrave (Ashley); All My Children’s Eden Riegel (Bianca) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie); Saving Face’s Lynn Chen (Vivian) and Michelle Krusiec (Wil); from The L Word

and Skirtchasers, Elizabeth Keener; from Fringe and Suicide Kale, Jasika Nicole; from Bomb Girls and Lost Girl, Ali Liebert; and from Pariah and South of Nowhere, Aasha Davis. ClexaCon is named in honor of Clarke and Lexa (‘Clexa’) from the CW’s The 100. When fan favorite Lexa was killed — the first example of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope that year — members of the queer community responded by raising awareness about the trope, plus $162,550 (as of this writing) for The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. “Any actor who has played LGBTQ knows that queer female fans are devoted and loyal, and ClexaCon is the first convention catering specifically to them. It is a place where we

can interact with the biggest stars, learn from the brightest minds, and party like only we can!” said event organizers Panels, workshops, autograph sessions, and film screenings will not only bring together fans and stars, but content creators such as Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp, Lost Girl); Alice Wu (Saving Face); Shamim Sarif and Hanan Kattan (I Can’t Think Straight); Paige Bernhardt and Nancylee Myatt (Nikki & Nora, South of Nowhere); Amanda Bearse (Skirtchasers); Katherine Brooks (Loving Annabelle); Stan Zimmerman (The Golden Girls, Roseanne, Gilmore Girls); and Bridget McManus and Christin Baker (Tellofilms). Panels will include discussions of minority

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representation in the media, how to write television for women, and how to create a web series. ClexaCon will also present an LGBTQ Film Festival, plus an Artist Alley featuring many LGBTQ artists sharing and selling art, crafts, comics, clothing, and more. ClexaCon is a celebration of the characters and stories that have provided comfort and support for the queer community, and that have even — figuratively and often literally — saved lives. Tickets are $135 for all three days; singleday tickets also available. For more information visit

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Out and About - Women’s March 2017


e asked our readers to share some of their moments from the Women’s March in San Francisco and Sacramento. Here are some of the images they sent. Thank you all for sharing these wonderful photographs with our readers.

Amy Naumovski

CJ Francis

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Jayne Moore

Paige D.

Jayne Moore 22 Outword California

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Mychelle Vincent

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The Dinah 2017 Celebrates Women Who Have Shattered the Glass Ceiling


eading straight toward the big three-oh, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend (aka The Dinah) continues to make its presence felt across our country and around the world by raising the visibility of women in all facets of life, from artists, to comics, to filmmakers, to athletes and beyond.

For over a quarter century Mariah Hanson — founder and producer of the largest lesbian event in the world — has not only been delivering epic good times to lesbians, but has as well continuously been moving the needle with her ongoing commitment to amplifying, championing and celebrating women’s voices and talent via The Dinah. The growth and longevity of the event — a worldwide cultural phenomenon — is all the more astonishing and remarkable at a time when lesbian bars, spaces, festivals and publications are rapidly vanishing all across the country. This is why, now, more than ever events like The Dinah are necessary to reconnect our community. The Dinah is entirely produced by women for women, and that is a powerful statement in today’s climate. Kicking off at the close of Women’s History month on March 29th and wrapping on Sunday, April 2nd, the Dinah 2017 will celebrate and honor the trailblazing women in the arts, sports and entertainment industry who have achieved historic firsts. “It is enormously important to celebrate and raise the visibility of women breaking glass ceilings, especially within our own community because we need to be reminded that we are strong, capable, united and powerful in a time when our voices, especially spoken in unity, are needed more than ever before,” says Mariah Hanson. The 27th installment of the Dinah is already expected to be one of the major highlights of the 2017 Palm Springs festival season with a powerful all-female line-up covering the entire gamut of the entertainment spectrum including sports, music, fashion, comedy, film and TV. The incredibly inspiring women slated to perform at The Dinah in 2017 include: world surf champion now turned cutting edge DJ Keala Kennelly, who not only made a big splash playing herself in the 90s cult movie

24 Outword California

Cooling off at a Dinah 2016 pool party. Photos coutesy Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.

Blue Crush but also made history for female surfing winning the first women’s big wave contest at the Nelscott Big Wave Classic in 2010; Butterschotch, the first female beatbox world champion and a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent; singer, songwriter, rapper Tish Hyman, Latin hip hop artist Lady Cultura, and DJ Kittens, among others. On the comedy front, the always politically incorrect stand-up comedian Julie Goldman, one of the most hilarious, provocative and familiar faces on Bravo’s The People’s Couch and the Vanderpump Rules will up the volume of your laughter. She’ll be joined by British comic Gina Yashere, who broke onto the American comedy scene with her appearance on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and the wildly hilarious Erin Foley who has been taking the comedy scene by storm across the nation. Collectively these daredevils have

considerably changed the game for women achieving power through their remarkable ability to build community around the personal brands they’ve created and the causes they champion. “The Dinah has always stood for living out loud in celebration of our unique and incredible lives. This year we are bringing that message up a few notches,” says Hanson. “These are women who have taken a chance, shaken off-stereotypes, fought adversity, and broken the glass

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ceiling in their respective professional fields paving their own ways. Because that is what the Dinah has been and continues to be about: living outloud and breaking barriers!” The Dinah 2017 is March 29 through April 2. For more information about The Dinah, go to

In The Dollhouse with Lina Returns for Second Season


Lina Bradford

n The Dollhouse With Lina, the rollicking YouTube show hosted by the spirited house music DJ diva Lina Bradford, returns for its second season this month.











she does not define herself by it. “I’ve never done labels. I’ve only worn them,” she says. In The Dollhouse With Lina is free at Follow on Facebook @DJLina.


from very well rounded intelligent Aries women who were all true Rams,” she continues. “They taught me to be confident in who I am.” Lina is a trans woman but


learning more about the interesting personalities I adore and making people happy,” says Lina from The Dollhouse studios in New York. “What more could I ask for from a job?” Lina’s career in entertainment began early. She studied dance for ten and a half years, performing modern ballet, tap and jazz in several companies throughout New York. The moves she learned would become part of her signature style when, twenty years ago, she left the dance stage for the dance floor, spinning records all over New York and Europe. She would become best known for her ten-year run on Fire Island. Lina currently holds a once-a-month residency Party TBS (Throwback Sundays) at NYC’s The Gilded Lily. “I enjoyed a very strong upbringing


In the show, Lina’s quick wit (known as “Linish,” yes, she has her own language) and infectious smile take center stage as she discusses music, fashion and pop culture with her celebrity friends. Season Two will welcome guests like Candis Cayne, NY Real Housewife and Home Shopping Network jewelry designer Kelly Killoren Bensimon and Whoopi Goldberg. Each episode is shot in Lina Bradford’s Barbie doll room — she has over 600 pint-sized mannequins — and includes hilarious segments like the fan-favorite “Asian Fortune Cookie Kiki” where celebs play the Origami Paper Game with Lina, answering questions no one else would dare to ask. “The wonderful part about doing a talk show is I get to be my fun, goofball self while doing the two things I most enjoy:






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Palm Springs

#ILoveGayPalm Springs Because… Mike Thompson says “#ILoveGayPalmSprings because…” By Nicholas Snow As we learn at, “Mike Thompson joined the staff of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert as Executive Director in June 2014 with more than 18 years of nonprofit leadership experience. He says…

February in the Palm Springs Oasis By Brad Fuhr, e-publisher, GayDesertGuide.LGBT

We are now in a new era in America – one that comes with many unknowns. How will the LGBT community survive, grow and thrive with a new Trump administration? Will the Obamas winter here permanently? Will our new hotels ever get built? Will Coachella Headliners Beyoncè, Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead donate proceeds to Pro-LGBTQ groups?

#ILoveGayPalmSprings Because…

And then there are the “known knowns”: We in the Greater Palm Springs area are in a bubble -- one of the most diverse and LGBT-friendly places on earth. And the next few months will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors looking for an escape – from Winter, from their homophobic habitat and possibly from reality. So, we’ll roll out our red carpet for a season of events and fun while the rest of the world wrestles with winter and shuffles the deck chairs on the proverbial Titanic. Our community is welcoming, philanthropic, and caring to its core and this month proves it. The Pointer Sisters headline The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards to benefit the many facets of Desert AIDS Project. D.A.P. is at the forefront of the health care issues affecting not only gay men but now provides a breadth of services to others in need. It also spearheaded the recently-concluded (and highly successful) Get Tested Coachella Valley initiative to reduce HIV infection rates. Our Mizell Senior Center Gala – Stars Among Us – celebrates the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever. Their work extends to the entire valley through Meals on Wheels and senior programs. There will be a few Oscars viewing parties with worthy beneficiaries. Trio’s version is “Hollywood’s Biggest Night” benefitting the AIDS Assistance Program. The other is “Big Bad Dishy Hollywood Awards Night” at the Mary Pickford Theaters hosted by comedians Shann Carr, Jersey Shore and Max Mitchell.

You take my breath away. Whether it’s your early morning sunrises or midnight skies, I often find myself stopped in my own tracks, standing in awe of the beauty around me.… You gather people. Whether people come here for a weekend, for a season or for a new life, you create a wonderful space for people to gather and to do life together… You’re just the right size. You make it easy for me to get from David A. Lee Photography Point A to Point B, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy all you have to offer… You’re a place for celebrations as well as a place that celebrates. During any given week, one can find something being celebrated here… of the vibrancy I experience here. There’s something magical happening in Palm Springs, while I can’t quite articulate it, I can certainly feel it…and I love it! Mike, his two dogs Gordo and Ricky, along with Boo Boo the Cat live in Palm Springs, and his menagerie must love him as much as we do! Don’t miss The Center’s Red Dress Party Saturday, March 11! For more info, check out “Events” at

Our #ILoveGayPalmSprings Photo of the Month comes from Trevor Eade of Palm Springs taken in late December and posted on Twitter. It’s been a wet winter thus far and the valley has been inundated with rain…and rainbows. Look closely and you may see the double rainbow here!

And one of the most fun evenings happens March 11th as we don our gay apparel for the LGBT Center’s Red Dress/Dress Red Party. (See our Facebook page for my size 14 ruby slippers – Nike style!) It’s also the month for Modernism Week where we are sponsoring two events. The first is “Modernism With A Twist”, what I would term TedTalks-meets-Travelogue. GayDesertGuide.LGBT is also holding an open house in the 300 block of North Palm Canyon with some of the galleries, restaurants and shops that fall between downtown and Uptown. Free food and drink too!

Shann Carr

Subscribe to our Oasis Insiders newsletter or add us to the home screen of your mobile phone or tablet so you can stay in touch and find all the details on these and hundreds more events, happy hours, Meetups, attractions, restaurants and bars, and places to shop. Our site is the # 1 place to find everything you need to know about LGBT Palm Springs. This special section gives you a quick overview. You can also follow us on social media too and don’t forget to share.

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Photo of the Month

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Trevor is a member of the Palm Springs HRC Federal Club and co-chaired the 2016 HRC Garden Party during Palm Springs Pride. We thank him for his service to the community and for providing this month’s photo. He’ll receive a $50 restaurant gift card. You can win February’s contest! Just post and tag a photo of yourself or something of interest about Palm Springs on Instagram or Twitter with #ILove GayPalmSprings and message us when you post it!

Palm Springs #ILoveGayPalmSprings @Destination PSP! Now available at DestinationPSP - new #ILoveGayPalmSprings merchandise. From t-shirts to coffee mugs, a credit card/cash holder for your mobile phone in every color of the rainbow and a unique wine tote (to keep the white wine cold and the red wine cool). Visit DestinationPSP in downtown Palm Springs and shop for the holidays!

2017 “Save the Date” Coachella Valley Events Feb. 9-15 IBC International Bear Convergence Feb. 11 Desert Winds -Valentine’s Day Concert & Dance Feb. 11 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala Feb, 16-26 Modernism Week, Palm Springs Feb. 17- Mar. 5

Eveita @ Palm Canyon Theatre

Feb. 17 Palm Springs Air Museum Gala Feb. 25

Mizell Center: 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Fever

Feb. 25-26 PSGMC “Simply Sondheim” Concert Feb. 26 AAP’s Hollywood’s Biggest Night @ Trio Mar. 5 ACT for MS Gala honoring Jamie Kabler

Gay Wine Weekend

Mar. 6-19 BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament

We’ve moved to JULY so you can celebrate PRIDE & join us Out In The Vineyard! It’s a weekend of Wine & Celebration with new winemaker dinners, winery tours and events. Visit

Mar. 11 LGBT Center’s Red Dress/Dress Red Party Mar. 18-25 Fashion Week on El Paseo in Palm Desert Mar. 24-26 Cathedral City’s LGBT Days Mar. 26 Desert Winds “Music and the World of Sound” Mar. 29-Apr. 2 Club Skirts Presents The Dinah, Palm Springs Apr. 1 The Living Desert’s Brew at the Zoo

Bongo Johnny’s

214 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs (760) 866-1905 Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grille is one of the best neighborhood restaurants in Palm Springs. Located in the middle of the Arenas area, Bongo Johnny’s is fun and relaxing with GREAT food. The menu is fresh, but it’s not just about breakfast and lunch, we’ve got dinner too. Come dine with us inside, or out on the patio, and experience a mini vacation with craveable food, signature cocktails, and stellar service. Get Fresh!

Apr. 2 L-Fund 3rd Annual Gumbo Gala Apr. 8 Palm Springs Pride Pet Parade Apr. 14-16 Coachella Music Festival –Weekend #1 Apr. 21-23 Coachella Music Festival –Weekend #2 Apr. 22-23 PSGMC “Palm Springs Pops” Concert Apr. 27-30 Blatino Oasis May 14 Desert AIDS Project’s Dining Out for Life May 5-8 Jeffery Sanker’s White Party Weekend May 6 AAP’s Evening Under the Stars Nov. 3-5 Palm Springs Pride 2017

For More Info & Events visit There has never been a better time to get married or honeymoon in Palm Springs! With over 300 days of sunshine annually, the Coachella Valleyis the perfect place to celebrate your union. is back! It’s the one-stop shop for planning LGBT Weddings in the Palm Springs Region. Go to and start planning your wedding in the desert.

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

Outword California 27

The Sexiest Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Is In These Skivvies by Mikey Rox


here’s plenty to love about Valentine’s Day – the quality time, the romantic dinner, the fine wine – but if you’re a dude celebrating with a dude, those are just formalities that lead to the main event: Sex.

Get a rise out of your favorite bedroom buddy this Feb. 14 in these last bastions of full-frontal coverage (in some cases, anyway), designed to culminate in climax.

from Barcelona-based Addicted that you’ll have a ball (or two) peeling off his body. $58,

Pucker Up

Opposites attract – literally – in the microfiber magnetic G-string by Spicy Lingerie that go from naughty to nasty (in the best way possible) with the flick of a finger. $18,

Stay funky-festive in MeUndies’ holidayedition prints – like the “Kiss Me” and “Heavy Petal” designs available in brief, boxer, boxer brief, and trunk – or let the site’s Matching Pairs option do the work for you when you click your individual preferences and sizes to cut down on indecisiveness and speed up checkout. $20-$48,

Ruff & Tumble Flamingo-pink briefs with a convexed hip opening reveal just enough thigh between the Rufskin-logoed soft elastic band and cotton-spandex body that you won’t bat an eye at giving into your Miami vices. $45,

Packaged Goods Oft-overlooked long johns get their props in this skin-tight, athletic-inspired update

Spice Drop

Marco Marco underwear.

Commander in Cheeks If Valentine’s at your crib is a family affair – polyamory is on the rise across the sexual spectrum – remind ’em who’s boss in Andrew Christian’s limited-edition “Master” brief, featuring a slimming neon waistband, snuggle pocket for your package, and your rightful title splashed across the junk in your trunk. $14,

Wrestle MANia Mesh, neon and spandex converge in Marco Marco’s triple-threat thong singlet with a zipper front that begs you to relive your wrestling glory days (or just one of your locker room fantasies) where nobody taps

Addicted underwear.

out early. $109,

Easy Access If you’re all googley-eyed over a tall glass of basic bitch, don’t sweat it – not everybody’s meant to be a freak in the sheets. Still, you can give your slice of vanilla cake something to celebrate on Valentine’s Day with plain-and-practical MDRN boxer briefs that feature a quick-access horizontal fly for when he’s feelin’ sly. $32; mdrnwear. com

and proper, or catch a breeze while you air out the merchandise. $21, originalpenguin. com

Unchained Melody

Shed the shackles of stale sex by slipping into the digital chain briefs from Addicted, which, coincidentally, invite an entirely different sort of bondage. $32, Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets On the Fly across the world. He splits his time between Wear Original Penguin’s accentuating homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore button-crotch Earl boxer brief – available in with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on black, grey, navy, and tussle-ready red – prim Twitter @mikeyrox. 28 Outword California

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

Let SoBe’s Winter Party Chase Away Your Winter Blues


s winter slogs onward toward its snowy, slushy, freezing conclusion, those who do not live in South Florida increasingly think of only one thing: South Florida. But if you needed an additional reason to head down to the tropics in early March, there’s the Winter Party.

Founded in 1994, the original Winter Party featured just one event, Miami’s first megadance party ever held on the beach. The combination of South Beach, surf, sand, hot men, muscles, music and weather proved irresistible. Soon, thousands of men were pouring in from around the world, making this one of the hottest weekends on the gay

hotel pool area with turntables, wet-and-wild fun and amazing eye candy. That night, there’s the appropriately named Energy. And the next day comes the weekend higlight, the all-day-into-evening Beach Party. A dance floor, pavilions, DJ booth, tents for relaxing, drinking and chatting sprawl along South Beach’s

calender in every sense. Over the years, the Winter Party has grown to include a week-long celebration with dozens of events, from shopping expeditions to museum crawls — and parties, parties and more parties. The roster of international DJ talent and Miami’s unparalleled clubs provide the kind of parties that could never happen anyplace else in these 50 states. Best of all, the entire proceeds go directly into our community. The National LGBTQ Task Force, the event’s producer, donates a significant portion of the proceeds to local LGBTQ groups. In 2016, the Task Force donated a record-breaking $275,000; over the years, the total has been $2.4 million. It starts with Thursday’s appropriately named Ignite, the first of many to take over one of Miami’s megaclubs. (And down there, mega means mega, baby.) Friday gets even hotter with late-late-night Heat. Don’t oversleep, or you’ll miss one of the major weekend highlights, the Saturday pool party, which takes over a glamorous beachfront

Lummus Park. As the afternoon wears on, the gentle waves of the Atlantic Ocean slowly darken until the sea seems to float into the azure sky. In the other direction, the soft neon pastels of Ocean Drive seem to pulsate in an echoing dance of their own, while all around you are exquisitely handsome, muscular men. And on deck, Ralphi Rosario and SoBe’s favorite native son, Abel, the legendary DJ partnership known as Rosabel. After a respite to eat, relax and do whatever, be sure to head to the WE Party. Once again, Spain’s premier party-producing brand is taking over a nightclub to present one of its legendary nights of sensory overload. Wind down early Monday morning at Verve for one last twirl on the dance floor before donning galoshes, muffler, overcoat and gloves. For more information on the Host Hotels, tickets and/or Winter Party Festival 2017 lineup, visit

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

Outword California 29

Are You a Dude (or Dudette) With a Dog?

Puppy love can go a long way, but sometimes even a “dog dad” needs a little more, and what could be better than to find another a “dog dad?” That’s the goal of Dudes with Dogs, a 40,000 member social site designed to help men, and women, find that special relationship. Check them out at

Rendezvous with Paris in 2018 for the Gay Games


ince 1982, the Gay Games have brought together people from all over the world, with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity, and sharing. With sport a common theme for inclusion, the Gay Games are open to all, young or old, athlete or artist, experienced or novice, gay or straight.

Athletes, artists, supporters, spectators, donors, volunteers, conference participants, sponsors, or simply anyone interested in this project, has a role to play at the Gay Games and to help progress our society. Registration is now open for the games that will include 36 sports, 14 cultural events and one academic conference at To encourage financially-challenged participants to take part in the Gay Games, The Gay Games Scholarship Program can provide assistance. Established in 2002 with support from the Roy M. Coe Scholarship Fund. Over 800 scholarship candidates have participated in the Gay Games. Applications can be submitted at The number of scholarships depends on generous donations from the community, and if you would you like to, you can make a donation at donation/ See video 30 Outword California

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

‘Rob on the Road’ Takes Show on the Road, California-Wide

by Bonnie Osborn


ine years ago, Sacramento public television station KVIE launched “Rob on the Road,” a weekly program showcasing the many cultural attractions, natural beauty and, most importantly, the people of Northern California, hosted by award-winning broadcaster Rob Stewart. Now, with numerous Emmy nominations under its belt, and as the station’s top-ranked local program, Stewart and his team aspire to take “Rob on the Road” statewide.

The show currently airs on PBS stations all over California and throughout the U.S., but intermittently rather than on a regular schedule. The statewide pilot, “Rob on the Road: Exploring California” takes Rob on a tour of Catalina Island, a visit to the top of San Francisco’s Coit Tower, a climb to the dome of California’s State Capitol, and on a mission to release rescued animals with the Marine Mammal Center. Stewart is often compared to the late broadcaster Huell Howser, best known for his PBS travel show “California Gold.” Howser is “irreplaceable,” says Stewart, who met Howser and received his blessing after launching “Rob on the Road.” “What we are trying to do is carry on his passion for exploring California,” Stewart says. “We want to carry it on while doing more production work on the show, showing more beautiful video of what only California offers. “In my opinion California is the greatest playground in the country,” he says. “Because in one day you can try almost any activity imaginable.” Stewart’s adventures while hosting the show have included flying in an open-cockpit World War II plane and zip lining—all on camera. He screamed for the first half of the zip-line, he says, and then they did it a second time. Other recent “Rob on the Road” spots include a visit to the Sacramento Zoo snake enclosure, where Stewart came face-to-face with his reptile phobia, and the zoo’s brand-new bat enclosure, for which Stewart and crew had to undergo a series of precautionary rabies vaccinations. The show has taken viewers on a behindthe-scenes tour of Hearst Castle, the majestic San Simeon estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, now operated by the California State Parks Department. Then Hearst’s great-grandson flew in by private jet to take Stewart and crew on an exclusive tour of Hearst Ranch, which remains private

property. Yet another segment takes viewers to train alongside cadets at the California Highway Patrol Academy in Sacramento. The goal is to give visitors access to the best California has to offer without having to leave their living rooms. “We want them to feel like they have been there,” Stewart says, “and we hope to inspire them to experience it for themselves.” Before he became “Rob on the Road,” Stewart enjoyed a 15-plusyear career in broadcast news, reporting from Philadelphia; New York, NY; Connecticut, New Jersey and South Carolina. Before moving to California, he anchored the nightly news at Philadelphia’s WHYY-TV from 2003 to 2008, earning Delaware Today Magazine’s nod as Best TV News Anchor in 2007. In New York City, he served as entertainment reporter for News 12. His live reporting experience includes the September 11, 2001, attack on New York’s twin towers, the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. On “Rob on the Road” the news is always good news. “That’s the whole reason I decided to stay in TV when I left news,” Stewart says. “I decided if I was going to be part of this business I had to plant a positive seed in somebody’s home and heart.” In addition to his job as host and executive producer of “Rob on the Road,” Stewart is one of three hosts for the national PBS television show “America’s Heartland,” hosting a “Farm-to-Fork” series that explores how and where Americans’ food is produced. Three years ago, at the end of a 14-year relationship, Stewart decided to undertake some significant life changes: he quit drinking, lost 50 pounds, and moved from the Sacramento suburbs to downtown. “I decided I needed to show up for life,” he

Rob Stewart on Lake Natoma

Rob in the High Sierra

says. “When you show up for life, life will bless you. “All you can do is the next right thing, even if you don’t know exactly where it will take you,” he says. “That will lead you down the path to your destiny. If I can bring someone a little joy for 30 minutes, I know I have done the right thing. “You do give up your private life,” he

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

continues. “Everywhere I go, people stop me and say, ‘I am so glad you are doing the show.’ And I love that they do, because it means we are connecting with people, and that is the goal. I will always have time to stop and talk to anyone who wants to connect. It’s who I am. “When you are on TV every day you lose your privacy. But it’s all worth it to bring people joy. Especially to show off California and the people of California. “There’s a uniqueness and a drive to Californians tracing back to the origins of the state,” Stewart says. “I believe as California goes, the rest of the country goes.” “Rob on the Road” airs locally on KVIE/ Channel 6 every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. New and past episodes can be viewed at Outword California 31

Fun Home & Finding Neverland Premiere in San Fransisco

by Chris Narloch


wo big Broadway musicals come to the Bay Area this month, as Finding Neverland and Fun Home make their Northern California premieres.

Fun Home

With Fun Home, you’ll actually get two premieres in one, since the beautiful theater it’s playing at in San Francisco is reopening with this groundbreaking musical. Built in 1922, the Curran has housed some of the biggest productions in theater history and has maintained a reputation over the course of its life as one of the premier live entertainment venues in North America. Now, almost a century after it welcomed its first Bay Area audiences, the Curran has undergone a major restoration and renovation and will reopen its 1,600 seat venue with the 2015 Tony-winner for Best Musical. Based on her brilliant graphic novel, Fun Home puts the fun in dysfunctional, as real-life American cartoonist Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For) tells the very moving and entertaining tale of her fractured family. After her father dies unexpectedly, Alison dives deep into her past to share the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood — playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing

understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires. Three different actresses play Bechdel at various ages in Fun Home, now playing through Feb. 19th. For more information, visit

Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. Finding Neverland With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of If you saw the 2004 film of Finding faith, Barrie takes this monumental leap, Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate leaving his old world behind for Neverland, Winslet, then you already know it is the story where nothing is impossible and the wonder of how Peter became Pan. of childhood lasts forever.

Directed by visionary Tony-winner Diane Paulus, the stage version of Finding Neverland sings the story behind the creation of ‘Peter Pan.’ It was the winner of’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical. Featuring music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham, Finding Neverland is now playing through Feb. 12th, at the gorgeous SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. Visit

Black History Month: African-Americans on the Overland Trails


he Center for Sacramento History, in association with the Sacramento History Alliance, is presenting a special Black History Month Speaker Series event by the author of Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869.

Historian and CSUS Emerita Professor Shirley Ann Wilson Moore will speak about her recently published book on the westward migration story of black pioneers on Thursday, February 9, at 7 p.m. at the Center for Sacramento History (551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd). Tracing the journeys of black overlanders who traveled the Mormon, California, Oregon, and other trails, Moore describes in vivid detail what they left behind, what they encountered along the way, and what 32 Outword California

they expected to find in their new, western homes. She argues that African Americans understood advancement and prosperity in ways unique to their situation as an enslaved and racially persecuted people, even as they shared many of the same hopes and dreams held by their white contemporaries. For African Americans, the journey westward marked the beginning of liberation and transformation. At the same

time, black emigrants’ aspirations often came into sharp conflict with real-world conditions in the West. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; admittance includes one drink ticket. Dr. Moore will sign copies of her book, Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869, at the conclusion of her presentation; cost is $30. Advance tickets are $15 each and are available online only at www.

February 2, 2017 - March 2, 2017 • No. 2

Outword California - Romance and Weddings 2-2-17  

Romance and Weddings

Outword California - Romance and Weddings 2-2-17  

Romance and Weddings