686 Holiday Shopping Two - Ms. DoMe Moore is in the House!

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Special Issue - Holiday Shopping Part Two No. 686 • December 9, 2021 outwordmagazine.com

Capitol Christmas Tree Gets Lit page 2

Jerry Sloan Remembrance page 6

Broadway Sacramento Bounces Back page 10

Book Review: “Capote’s Women” page 16

Year of the Earbuds page 20

Cookware Fit For A King page 22


The Capitol Christmas Tree Gets ‘Lit’

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by Chris Allan

fter a year’s hiatus, Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom hosted the 90th Annual California State Capitol Tree Lighting Ceremony, on Thursday, Dec. 2. This year’s 65’ white fir is decorated with approximately 500 hand-crafted ornaments made by children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Amber Riley and keyboardist perform at the Christmas tree lighting. Photo by Chris Allan.

The evening began with hosts Renel Brooks-Moon and Todd Leitz, announcers for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, making a lighthearted pitch for unlikely allies working together. “The holidays are a time for us to set aside our differences, and in that spirit Renel, we would like to pay our respects to California’s second-best baseball team…” joked Leitz. The program included a Native American blessing and song, music from the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and the lighting of a menorah for the fifth night of Hanukkah. Next, over thirty members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus arrived in black masks and bright red sweaters adorned with gold SFGMC ornaments to sing “Merry Everything.” Composer Ernie Lijoi’s choral work is a moving plea for peace and putting aside differences.The chorus was followed by charming mariachi singer Pedrito Fregoso before actress and singer Amber Riley took the stage in a seriously glam green sequined dress and silver heels. The former “Glee” star nailed Stevie 2

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December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

Wonder’s Christmas classic “That’s What Christmas Means to Me” before singing a soulful, lovely rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire.” After a spoken word performance from Sacramento area poet Danielle “Yelly” Scales, Siebel Newsom and the Governor took the stage. Newsom admitted that he “needed this,” noting how hard the past few years have been on all of us. He talked about the spirit of resiliency and unity. “There’s no leak on your side of our boat,” he said. “We rise and fall together.” Newsom then invited six-year-old Hadiyyah Esmat and her mother to the stage, where the developmentally disabled child pushed the button to light up the tree. The Oakland choir and Riley sang a rousing “Joy to the World” as the Governor’s four children climbed onto the stage to join their parents. It was an uplifting end to a program that sought to help us all feel connected and respected, no matter our individual holiday traditions and beliefs. Merry everything, indeed! outwordmagazine.com



outword Outword Staff PUBLISHER Fred Palmer A RT DIRECTOR/ PRODUCTION Kristy Harris Ron Tackitt GRA PHIC DESIGN Kristy Harris Ron Tackitt EDITOR editor@outwordmagazine.com A RTS EDITOR Chris Narloch SA LES Fred Palmer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Allan Christopher J. Beale Faith Colburn Kristy Harris Diana Kienle Chris Narloch Lauren Pulido Ron Tackitt PHOTOGRA PHY Chris Allan Ron Tackitt ON THE COVER Drag Queen Bingo’s resident host and drag diva, Ms. DoMe Moore DISTRIBUTION Michael Crawford

A DVERTISING SA LES Sacramento and Northern California (916) 329-9280 Fred Palmer

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O v e r 2 6 Ye a r s S e r v i n g S a c r a m e n t o

No RED Capitol for World AIDS Day 2021

by Joyce Mitchell of an illuminated red Capitol for World omething of a political firestorm brewed this World AIDS AIDS Day 2022, Cooley said to “get out your Day – 2021. A formal request sent through proper channels rolodex and start dialing and collecting turned up lame excuses for not illuminating the State Capitol signatures.” He said that could differentiate CCAF and AIDS in the “appeal” to turn the RED this year on December 1st. Capitol red. “It could put you in a class of Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is the Mangers left him a long, impassioned first global health day ever designated. It is message. But there was no return phone call. one,” said Cooley. In spite of the political frustration under a day to show support for people living with Similar pleas from other lawmakers and the Capitol dome, Sacramento’s World AIDS HIV and remembering lives lost to the their staffs fell on deaf ears. Day celebration held at the Clunie AIDS pandemic. A red ribbon is worn to In a comment to CCAF, Cooley initially Community Center was a success in unite and represent solidarity. commemorating the struggle, lives And thus, red is equated with lost, and people infected and affected HIV/AIDS awareness. by the AIDS pandemic. The Yet, this year, California’s Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus State Capitol refused to go RED graced the stage along with various in honor of World AIDS Day speakers including Sacramento even though various other Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Sacramento locations turned The heart and soul of the their lights red including the movement remains intact. However, Memorial Auditorium, Arden there appears to be a political dilemma developing. The hope is that Fair Mall, and street lights HIV/AIDS is not once again charging along Capitol Mall. It appears up with additional stigma. that for political reasons, the CCAF reminded Cooley, AIDS is a Capitol remained dark. pandemic. Its cumulative death toll in “I’m appalled and the U.S. mirrors that of COVID-19, embarrassed,” said former having left a generation of young and Assemblyman Dennis Mangers vital souls among the dead. It cannot (D-Huntington Beach). Forty be compared to other minor diseases, five days prior to World AIDS and while there are treatments, there Day, the Joint Rules Committee still is no cure. Education and chaired by Assemblyman Ken prevention slows the spread of the virus. The fight for a world free of Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) was HIV/AIDS is not over. Every time the contacted by Capital City AIDS word AIDS is mentioned, a life could Fund (CCAF) and asked to be saved. A red State Capitol would illuminate the State Capitol red have ignited a conversation. in honor of World AIDS Day. According to the CDC, 1-in-2 gay CCAF offered to absorb all or bisexual black men will be costs. Repeated attempts to diagnosed with HIV during their follow-up with his office went lifetime. Currently, of the 1.2 million nowhere. people living with HIV in the U.S. California has been the state Dennis Mangers and Joyce Mitchell many live with co-morbidities that hardest hit by the AIDS make them more susceptive to COVIDreferred to the decision as a “legal” one. pandemic, so many lives lost, so many 19. And thus, the dual pandemics go Then when questioned about how it was a people infected. “It appears Cooley made a hand-in-hand. legal decision when protocol was followed in unilateral decision to not illuminate the As for Cooley’s suggestion for World AIDS making the official request, he backpedaled Capitol red,” said Mangers. and followed with 15-minute mumbling and Day 2022, CCAF doesn’t use a rolodex The former assemblyman sat on the joint fumbling response that quickly devolved anymore. It’s outdated. Yet, what is not rules committee when he was a lawmaker. into the weeds. outdated is the passion behind CCAF’s He understands protocol and knows other CCAF was left baffled and dismayed. “This mission. One thing is for certain, the issue of current lawmakers from the rules is a disgrace,” said CCAF Board Member Ted a red State Capitol for this year – or next committee advocated on behalf of Ross. “It appears to have been a fiat decision World AIDS Day – isn’t going to be swept illuminating the State Capitol red for World by Cooley. And why, we can’t exactly figure under the carpet. That’s NOT what activists AIDS Day. Mangers, himself, personally out. ” When CCAF requested a commitment do. Rather they ACT-UP! called Cooley. The call was not taken, so

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Outword Magazine 5


Jerry Sloan Remembrance

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by Matthew Burlingame

he foundation of Sacramento’s queer community was shaken on November 16 as one of its pivotal pillars and founding fathers, Jerry Sloan, died at the age of 84.

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Born August 18, 1937 in Kansas City, Missouri Sloan’s early life was dedicated to his church and the word of God. As early as age 11 he was indoctrinated into a fundamentalist Baptist church which would shape most of his early theology. Though he found himself attracted to other boys during his teen years, he continued to put religion at the forefront of his life. Always an overachiever he graduated from high school at age 16. Determined to make spreading the gospel his life’s work, he entered a Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO at age 17. It was there he would meet fellow classmate Reverend Jerry Falwell who would later play a pivotal role in Sloan’s legacy. Despite his diligence and dedication to Baptist teachings, Sloan continued to struggle with his differences. Such things were not considered merely socially unacceptable, but also a sin worthy of eternal damnation. There were no pride parades, no gay and lesbian centers and no LGBTQ rights or protections of any kind. Yet in that year a 22 year old Christian from Kansas City, MO decided it was time to explore the feelings he had been keeping hidden. Feelings that he had been told all of his life were forbidden and evil. In 1960, almost a full decade before the Stonewall riots Sloan came out. It was a rocky road and a delicate balance finding peace with being an openly gay man as well as a man of faith. Finally in 1974 he became acquainted with the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), a group of churches founded in 1968 that embraced human rights and justice including but not limited to that of the LGBTQ community. A short time later Sloan accepted the position as senior pastor of the MCC in Fort Worth, TX which later led to a 1977 incident in which Sloan fasted for 14 days on the steps of the Federal Building seeking justice for the gay community of Texas. Through the course of his time at MCC he met Reverend Elder Freda Smith who was for a great many years one of the leading forces in the Sacramento MCC. Sloan and his mother Gloria moved to Sacramento in 1980 where he fell in love with the city, and the queer community, which being in the state capital was as active and vocal as himself. Though Sloan has a litany of accolades, awards and accomplishments during his lifetime there is one that changed the course of the Sacramento LGBTQ community forever. It happened on an appearance on a KCRA-TV morning show in 1986 when Sloan confronted his one time schoolmate Falwell about his condemning the MCC in a sermon. Falwell not only denied having made the remarks but challenged Sloan to prove it adding that he would give me $5000 if he did. When Sloan produced a videotape and asked for his $5000 Falwell refused to pay him. Determined not to let Falwell get away with in effect calling him a liar, Sloan sued Fallwell and won. Sloan was presented with an $8,982.90 ($5000 plus 7% interest) check from Falwell’s Moral Majority Inc. That money would become the seed money for what became the Sacramento LGBT Center (then called The Lambda Center). That tenacity for not giving up—of demanding to be heard—led Sloan along with Dale Jansson, John Hennessy, and Timothy Warford to create a center focus for the Sacramento queer community that would help thousands of LGBTQ people and adults looking for acceptance. Sloan has often been affectionately referred to

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

Jerry Sloan and Michael Kennedy of Kennedy Gallery.

as the father of the Sacramento LGBTQ community. That title is fitting as many of Sacramento’s queer arts groups, social groups and nonprofits can trace their roots in some form back to the Sacramento LGBT Center. In the late 1990s Sloan became a member of Atheists and Other Freethinkers and was co-founder of Project Tocsin, an organization that monitors the activities of political religious extremists. In Sloan’s later years his focus shifted to the plight of LGBTQ seniors. As an entire generation of baby boomers, who fought their way out of the closet reached their golden years, many found themselves forced to rely on housing and care that was modeled to accommodate a heteronormative, cisgender population. Without knowing how to properly meet and understand the needs of someone not fitting into this mold, it would essentially force many seniors to go back into the closet. It was a subject near and dear to his heart and one he advocated for throughout his own golden years. Even at 84 years old, dealing with his own health issues, Sloan never stopped trying to make the lives of LGBTQ people in Sacramento better. He often used the word “tenacity” to describe himself and his work. His catch phrase followed him though many of this community’s memories including his when he was named a community grand marshal for the Sacramento pride parade. Sloan was also proud to celebrate the hard won battle of marriage equality in the U.S. with his own marriage to Vitaly Atave-Troshin on January 16, 2014. Atave-Troshin has created a Facebook page dedicated to Sloan’s life and work and hopes to preserve the legacy and history of his husband for generations to come. A community memorial event will be held in January. outwordmagazine.com



Taschen Saves the Day!

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beautiful coffee table book could be just the ticket for that hard-to-buy-for person. They are exceptional in quality and contain some of the most interesting pictures imaginable. The couple of books we have highlighted below are just a small sampling of what you can find at the Taschen web site. While they are not inexpensive, they do, usually, seem to be worth the price for something so special and unique. And who wouldn’t want to cruise dog pictures taken by the legendary photographer, Bruce Weber? www.taschen.com

The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921–1968. 40th Ed. - $25

The James Bond Archives. “No Time To Die” Edition - $200

Bruce Weber. The Golden Retriever Photographic Society - $175

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“A Christmas Carol” In San Francisco Plus “Miss Bennet” At Capital Stage

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details.

oliday plays abound this time of year, and so we have assembled a roundup of seasonal live theatre options from Sacramento to the Bay Area and beyond. Read on for

by Chris Narloch BroadwaySF presents “A Christmas Carol” at the Golden Gate T heatre.

A Christmas Carol If you’re in San Francisco this holiday season to shop or visit friends, don’t miss the impressive new production of this theatrical holiday chestnut inspired by Charles Dickens’ beloved story of the Christmas redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge. This is BroadwaySF’s holiday show for 2021, and the cast is top-notch. Francois Battiste makes Scrooge’s desperation and his salvation palpable, and the trio of actresses who play the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future (Nancy Opel, Amber Iman and Monica Ho) are also dynamite. I also loved the use of hundreds of lighted lanterns on and above the stage, but I found a couple of the other design elements lacking. (There was too much use of black on stage for my taste – both in the costuming and the set design – and the over-amplified music sometimes forced the cast to shout to be heard.) As I said, however, the cast is so uniformly strong that the production rose above my reservations and made the familiar story of Scrooge thrilling (and occasionally chilling) once again. “A Christmas Carol” performs through this Dec. 26 at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to https://broadwaysf.com Cast members from the Capital Stage production of “Miss Bennet”

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley It’s back! “Miss Bennet” was so successful in 2018 that Sacramento’s Capital Stage has brought it back by popular demand, both virtually and live on stage. In this charmingly imagined sequel to “Pride and Prejudice,” Mary Bennet is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love. This romantic comedy picks up two years after Jane Austen’s beloved tale ended, with a clever and captivating style that will delight Austen aficionados and newcomers alike. “Miss Bennet” plays through this Dec. 24. For more information, visit https://capstage.org

Meet Me in St. Louis Drive to lovely Sonora this holiday season, and you can see this beloved American holiday classic come to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of the Smith family unfolds just before the 1904 World’s Fair took over St Louis’ and the nation’s imagination. “Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play” includes the best-loved songs from the film: “The Boy Next Door”, “The Trolley Song”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. “Meet Me in St. Louis” plays through this Dec. 19 at Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora. Go to www.sierrarep.org For many more arts events happening in and around Sacramento, please visit www.sacramento365.com

Chris Vettel, Emily Gatesman, Brenda O’Brien, Gabriel Rodrigues, and Lauren Hawk in Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play

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Outword Magazine 9


Broadway Sacramento Bounces Back

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By Christopher Beale

seats were full, and the initial reviews — at As for what the future holds for Broadway least of the acoustics — are good. “Members Sacramento, some big changes are in store. of the ‘Hamilton’ company told me their “Mrs. Lewis has indicated that I am an old show has never sounded better than in our man and that I need to stop,” said Lewis. He house,” said Lewis. plans to step down in July of 2023, but says Broadway Sacramento hosts the Broadway SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center But what about audiences, are they he works years in advance and will set up on Tour season each fall and Broadway at in Downtown Sacramento. The city -- which returning to the theater? Lewis says yes. his successor, Scott Klier -- the current Music Circus in the summer. Those owns the building -- relied on Lewis’ decades “When you put a ‘Hamilton’ on your season, Producing Artistic Director and Chief productions see an estimated 100,000 of theater expertise to help shape the future audience members each year and generate countless touring, and local jobs in the process -- many of them union. Alison Bailey and Talia Suskauer in WICKED presented by In addition to hosting touring Broadway, Broadway On Tour at the Safe Credit Union Performing Arts Center March 30-April 24, 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus. the summer program employs hundreds of theatre professionals and has become a sought-after destination for theatre folk of all trades. For the last two summers, however, Music Circus was dark because of COVID -the first and second dark summers since its founding. When it became clear that audiences wouldn’t be able to safely enjoy live theatre in 2020, Lewis and his team made some difficult choices to keep the company afloat. Some staff were laid off, shows were canceled, and everything went on hold. “I was extremely upset because I didn’t understand how this company could continue to exist,” said Lewis. “If you can’t put 2000 people into a theater, you’re washed up.” The company relied on a patient donor base to bridge the gap financially. “We’d sold tickets to shows that we couldn’t do, but the supporters of the company, they got it,” said Lewis. The government helped too. “I’ve the other of the venue. Operating Officer -never allowed this company to rely on couple of As president and CEO, Lewis says his with a slate of shows federal funding,” but Lewis says they shows priorities for the overhaul were full ADA first. “Scott’s got the ultimately did take PPP loans, and a really compliance, improved acoustics -something necessary energy, the shuttered venue operator grant, to stay afloat. benefit the old house struggled with -and “you youth, the pace, and For Richard Lewis, protecting Broadway from that. ” have to take care of the ladies,” Lewis says he’s artistically savvy.” Sacramento is not just his job, it’s personal. Attendance with a laugh. (He is referring to the As for Richard Music Circus, the popular summer program is expected expanded and updated restroom facilities in Lewis, he says he Broadway Sacramento presents at to be back the new space.) plans to spend his Sacramento’s Wells Fargo Pavilion, was at 90% “Will there still be a line at the ladies retirement watching founded by Lewis’ father Russell in 1951. when room? There will always be a line at the theatre and trying “not Richard grew up in the theater and after “Charlie ladies’ room,” but Lewis says the new theater to do anything vaguely earning a degree in theater arts at UCLA, he and the can get everyone in and out of the facilities physical. ” worked as a stage manager and lighting during an intermission more easily, “and we Chocolate Tickets are still Richard Lewis is president and CEO of designer for more than 50 productions Californiia Musical T heatre. Factory” don’t have to send people across to the available for the before becoming a full-time employee of opens at the end of the year. “Anastasia” Convention Center. ” remainder of Broadway Sacramento’s season Broadway Sacramento in 1983. follows in February. Also in the first half of Broadway Sacramento’s long closure came at the newly renovated SAFE Credit Union During the COVID-19 shutdown, Lewis 2022, the always-popular “Wicked” returns, to an end in September of this year, when Performing Arts Center in Sacramento. Go worked with the city on the redesign of the and “Tootsie” debuts. “Hamilton” opened in the new theater. The to www.BroadwaySacramento.com

e presented ‘A Bronx Tale’ over in the Memorial Auditorium,” says longtime Broadway Sacramento Artistic Director Richard Lewis, “then everything shut down.”

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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Panders While “We’re Here” on HBO Creates Change by Mark Segal

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ll Drag shows are not the same. Watching “Drag Race” you’ll be entertained by the same old bitchy comments and finger snaps all the while making RuPaul very successful. Many of those who have been on her show for the last 13 years have gone on to make a successful living entertaining. But what made the show unique in 2009 is not enough anymore. On the other hand, there are three former “Drag Race” contestants — Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela Laquifa Wadley — who have taken drag to a new level, one that creates change each week not for a few individuals but to entire cities and towns. The show is called “We’re Here,” and it airs on HBO. Here’s the skinny. Each episode these outrageous queens with their flamboyant outfits and makeup head to a new location and adopts a drag daughter (usually somebody from the LGBTQ+ community or an ally). Each of those adoptees has various issues with their sexuality, coming out, family problems, or living in a city that is down right hostile to the LGBTQ people. You follow the story as the queens prepare their adoptee for a professional performance and you hear about their lives and struggles and how this performance will allow them to express themselves. So do you think their show plays it safe in cities like NYC, Los Angeles, or San Francisco? No, try the predominantly Mormon community of TwinFalls, Idaho;

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Branson, Missouri; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Farmington and Shiprock, New Mexico; Ruston, Louisiana; and the border town of Del Rio, Texas. In other words they take their show to the people in the places who need it most. This show speaks to my heart and my life’s work for our struggle for Equality. It’s summed up in one word: VISIBILITY! And these queens do it in style. Drag might not be your thing, and you may not believe that it can help our cause for equality, but when these queens hit a town, not only adopting drag daughters, but personally walking down the streets of the cities in full fabulous drag handing out flyers to attend a drag show…. the discussions are meaningful and yes, life changing. Take Selma, Alabama, one of the holiest places of the civil rights movement. It’s a very conservative Black community. The three adoptees in Sema tell the same story of keeping their sexuality down low, or dealing with violence because of their gender identity. Bringing this show to Selma was dramatic and brave to say the least. The

queens also brought out a few of the marchers who did the Edmund Pettus Bridge demonstration with Dr, Martin L. King Jr. and future congressman John Lewis, and they

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

connected the LGBT community to that heralding moment in history. That brings dialogue, and dialogue always brings visibility.

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Book Review: “Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for An Era” by Laurence Leamer by Terri Schlichenmeyer

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er lips are locked tight. Your best friend knows all your secrets, and she’s keeping them; you told her things you had to tell somebody, and she’s telling nobody. You always knew you could trust her; if you couldn’t, she wouldn’t be your BFF. But as in the new book “Capote’s Women” by Laurence Leamer, what kind of a friend are you? For months, Truman Capote had been promising a blockbuster. Following his success with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, he was “one of the most famous authors in the world” but he needed a career-booster. The novel he was writing, he teased, would be about “his swans,” seven wealthy, fashionable women who quite personified “beauty, taste, and manners.” His first swan was Barbara “Babe” Paley, whom he’d met on a trip with the David Selznicks to Jamaica. For Capote, “Babe was the epitome of class,” simply “perfect” in every way; it helped that the famously gay writer was no threat to Paley’s “madly jealous” husband. Babe’s “dearest friend” was Nancy “Slim” Keith, who quickly learned that if a lady wanted her confidences kept, she didn’t tell Capote anything. She shouldn’t have trusted Babe, either: When Slim left for a European

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trip, Babe asked if Slim’s husband could accompany Babe’s friend, Pamela Hayward, to a play. Slim was aware of Pamela’s predatory reputation, but what could she say? Of course, Pamela, another of Truman’s swans, stole Slim’s man, a scandal that Capote loved. Gloria Guinness was highly intelligent, possibly enough to be a spy in Nazi Germany. Lucy “C.Z.” Guest was an upper-crust “elitist” with a “magical aura.” Marella Agnelli “was born an Italian princess”; Lee Radziwill, of course, was Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister. Through the late 1960s, Capote claimed to be writing his masterpiece, his tour de force based on his swans, but several deadlines passed for it. He was sure Answered Prayers “would

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

turn him once again into the most talkedabout author in America.” Instead, when an excerpt from it was published, his swans got very ruffled feathers. Every time you stand in line for groceries, the tabloids scream at you with so much drama that you either love it or hate it. Or, in the case of “Capote’s Women,” you cultivate it. And that’s infinitely fun, as told by author Laurence Leamer. Happily, though, Leamer doesn’t embellish or disrespect these women or Capote; he tells their tales in order, gently allowing readers’ heads to spin with the wild, globe-hopping goings-on but not to the point that it’s overdone. While most of this book is about these seven beautiful, wealthy, and serially married women – the Kardashians of their time, if you will – Capote is Leamer’s glue, and Truman gets his due, as well. Readers who devour this book will be sure that the writer would’ve been very happy about that. “Capote’s Women” should be like catnip to celeb-watchers of a Certain Age but even if you’re not, find it. If you’re a Hollywood fan, you’ll want to get a lock on it.

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Books Make Great Holiday Gifts

by Chris Narloch

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his holiday season’s literary offerings include an autobiography from a Hollywood actor and activist, who recently came out, a theatre book filled with fascinating firstperson interviews by some of the brightest lights on Broadway, and an acclaimed novel by a French, Algerian, Muslim lesbian. You Can’t Be Serious -- Kal Penn The costar of the “Harold and Kumar” movie franchise as well as “House” and “Designated Survivor,” Kal Penn found fame initially in low-brow comedy and then went on to serve in the Obama administration. It’s a good thing Penn rejected the advice of his aunties and guidance counselors and, instead of becoming a doctor or “something practical,” embarked on a surprising journey that has included confronting racism in Hollywood, working in politics and meeting his future husband. Read all about it in this candid and funny memoir.

Josephine Baker

The First Black Woman Interred at by Chris Narloch the Pantheon in Paris

Banned from California -Robert C. Steele This compelling new book by gay rights activist Robert C. Steele recounts the amazing life of Jim Foshee, a gay runaway -- and later, prominent activist -- who, after a childhood spent first in an orphanage and then a mental hospital, found himself in the underground world of the early queer scene of 1950s Los Angeles. “Banned from California” is evocative, entertaining, and educational.

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he legendary bisexual, American-born dancer Josephine Baker is receiving one of the highest French honors that only 80 other people have ever been given. Baker caused a sensation when she arrived in Europe in the 1920s but was born in poverty in Missouri in 1906. The ‘out’ performer and anti-racism activist will be the first Black woman — and the sixth woman ever — to be interred at the Pantheon in Paris. Outword congratulates her fans and her family.

The Last One -- Fatima Daas Drawn from Fatima Daas’ memories of growing up in a Paris suburb, “The Last One” is a rapidly paced coming-of-age story relatable to anyone who has ever felt out of place. Daas vividly describes episodes from her tomboyish adolescence and young adulthood, from performing an Islamic ritual purification, to sharing her first kiss with a girl on a school trip, to attending therapy. Ever After -- Barry Singer The theatre queen in your life will love this recent book, which features one hundred first-person interviews with the bright lights of Broadway, including the late, great Stephen Sondheim, Audra McDonald, Julie Taymor, Billy Porter, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Laura Benanti, and more. Barry Singer’s “Ever After” is more than a detailed show-by-show history. It is also a definitive behind-the-scenes account of how those shows were made. Singer invites the people who created the last forty years of musical theater on and off Broadway to tell their own stories. outwordmagazine.com

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It’s Not the Holidays Without New Music

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have amassed quite a large collection, and I still look forward to the new holiday CDs that come out like clockwork this time of year. Read on for my reviews of this season’s cream of the Christmas music crop. Merry Christmas from Andra Day

The only disappointing thing about this disc is that it includes just five tracks, but if you’re a fan of Day, a recent Oscar nominee for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” you’ll have to have the CD anyway. The thing I love about Day is how her slurred, jazzy vocal style almost makes her sound drunk when she sings. The highlight here is a duet with Stevie Wonder on “One Day at Christmas.”

by Chris Narloch

Kristin Chenoweth -- Happiness is…Christmas!

The classically trained Broadway baby has gifted her fans with another classy Christmas album, filled with her trademark positivity and lovely songs like “Christmas Lullaby” and “Merry Christmas, Darling.” The only dud is “Merry Christmas Baby,” which is too bluesy a song for Chenoweth, given her impeccable, pure pop diction.

Norah Jones -- I Dream of Christmas Pistol Annies -- Hell of A Holiday

As a loyal Miranda Lambert fan, I await her new music with great anticipation, including every disc by her side act, the country trio Pistol Annies, with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. The title track “Hell of A Holiday” and “Snow Globe” are super fun, and then the Annies break your heart with “Make You Blue” and “If We Make It Through December.” The ladies take turns singing lead on different tracks, and their harmonies are something to behold.

Brett Eldredge -- Mr. Christmas

Norah Jones’ holiday CD is just as mellow and ‘chill’ as you would expect, with sweetsounding covers of both “White Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” and hypnotic takes on “Winter Wonderland” and “Christmas Time Is Here.” Jones’s soft and slow style pulls you in, and she wraps things up with a superb rendition of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”

My favorite country music hunk just put out his second holiday disc and while it isn’t quite as great as “Glow,” his previous one, diehard fans like me will love it. The singer has a touch of sandpaper in his sexy voice but no twang whatsoever, and he nails his versions of spiritual seasonal songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Eldredge is a soulful country crooner, but “Mr. Christmas” is more ‘big band’ than country, with fun, swinging covers of “Cool Yule” and “Jingle Bells.”

Darren Criss -- A Very Darren Crissmas

This former “Glee” guy recently released his first holiday CD, and it’s just as fun as can be, with a wacky cover of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and a sassy duet on “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag” with Adam Lambert. Criss even makes Joni Mitchell’s classic “River,” one of the greatest ‘Christmas bummer’ songs ever written, sound bouncy and upbeat.

Kelly Clarkson -- When Christmas Comes Around

It’s been eight years since Clarkson’s last holiday disc, and she brings the star power this time including duets that pair her with Ariana Grande and Chris Stapleton. Clarkson’s big, bold voice was made for Christmas music, and I enjoyed the new songs on this CD, especially “Blessed.” The only duds are her dull versions of the overdone classics “Santa Baby” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” which have been recorded so many times by various artists that only the originals sound good anymore.

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December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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Movies Make Great Gifts -Part Two

by Chris Narloch

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o many terrific DVDs were released recently, just in time for holiday shopping, that I had to split them up in to two articles over two issues. Here are the rest of my recommendations for the movie lover in your life.

Respect Jennifer Hudson could earn another Oscar nomination for her dynamite depiction of the Queen of Soul in this uneven but compelling biopic about the one and only

Chastain really nails Bakker’s voice and mannerisms, and she gives Tammy Faye back her humanity. Ivanhoe MGM spared no expense and brought their top box-office talent to England to film this lavish Technicolor epic, a box-office smash that starred not one, but two Taylors. Related only as studio royalty, long-time leading man Robert Taylor played opposite the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor in this action-packed adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s legendary novel. Angels with Dirty Faces This is the acclaimed Warner Bros. gangster classic that paired off-screen pals James Cagney and Pat O’Brien for the sixth time. Cagney’s Rocky Sullivan is a charismatic ghetto tough whose underworld rise makes him a hero to a gang of slum punks. O’Brien is Father Connolly, the

Aretha Franklin. The late, great diva hand-picked Jennifer to star before her death, and Hudson comes through with a complex portrayal that doesn’t make Franklin out to be a saint -- except for when she unleashes that heavenly voice of hers. The Green Knight If your gift recipient is a fan of surreal sword and sorcery films, this very odd adventure story about Sir Gawain and his quest to confront the Green Knight should do the trick. The movie’s hero is perfectly played by the handsome Dev Patel, and the superb supporting cast includes Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton. The entire 14th Century medieval tale unfolds like a twohour dream. The Eyes of Tammy Faye Lady Gaga is coming on strong for “House of Gucci,” but my money is on Jessica Chastain to win the Oscar next year for her remarkable, Meryl Streep-style transformation into the late televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, in this very entertaining portrait of the Bakker’s epic fall from grace. An ally to the queer community, Tammy Faye was mercilessly mocked while she was alive, mostly for her makeup. outwordmagazine.com

boyhood chum-turned-priest who vows to end Rocky’s influence. Other top talents join them including Humphrey Bogart as a scheming lawyer, Ann Sheridan (in her first major leading-lady role) as Rocky’s hardedged girlfriend, and the Dead End Kids as worshipful street urchins, all ably directed by the great Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”). Note: Both “Ivanhoe” and “Angels with Dirty Faces” can be purchased at the Warner Archive Amazon Store or online wherever DVDs and Blu-rays are sold. December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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Year of the Earbuds

by AudioDorkSac

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udging from the never-ending barrage of ads on Facebook, it would be easy to consider Christmas 2021 the year of the wireless earbud. It seems that most manufacturers of earbuds have figured out how to make them small enough to where they do not need cords or attachments hanging down out of your ear. The little rubber ear gaskets that they employ are enough to keep these new earbuds in your ear even while you’re doing active things.

All of them come with small storage cases that double as recharging stations, so you don’t need to connect each bud to a charging cord. However, it seems that they vary widely in the length of time that they can be played in between charges. If this is important to you, you should definitely pay attention to that specification. Unfortunately, I was not able to actually audition any earbuds for this write up, but judging from past experience with the manufacturers that I have listed here, my recommendations should be a fairly safe bet. Just be sure about the return policy from the store that you were buying your earbuds from, in case you don’t like the way they sound, or function. (Note: I will be reviewing the Klipsch and the Sennheisers very soon. So stay tuned in!) If you are a person on the go, and need to be able to access telephone calls, and you want to be able to listen to music while on the go, this new crop of earbuds is certainly worth taking a look at. Additionally, most of the ones listed here have active noise cancelling capability. That means they listen to the sounds around you and cancel that extra sound. It’s a pretty cool technology. I have listed the prices that were available at the time of writing, but anything can happen in that regard.

Over $200

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser has been making headphones and earbuds for many years. I own a pair of old, wired buds that I use at the gym. They sound amazing and they didn’t break the bank. The prices on these have been fluctuating but expect to pay around $200 – www.amazon.com

Around $100 Yamaha TW-E3A

These ear buds check all the boxes for features and Yamaha is still one of the best Japanese manufactures out there. They come in a couple of colors and if you go now, they are on sale for $50, down from $129. However, the black ones are on backorder… www.usa.yamaha.com

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Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport (McLaren Edition)

Apple Airpods Pro

Belkin SoundForm Freedom True Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite 85t

Most of the time Apple insists on shunning Klipsch has also been around for very long the rubber “ear gasket” approach to earbuds time, making speakers, mostly, but – which absolutely don’t work with my ears headphones and earbuds for a while. This – but with the Pros they designed them with particular model just plain looks cool, and gaskets, finally. I have read that they are the the design looks to stay more firmly planted best as far as interactivity with iPhones and in your ear. I would love to hear them one they sound spectacular. However, like most day… soon! $249 – www.klipsch.com Apple products they strike me as being about $100 too expensive. $249 – www.apple.com

Belkin has been making computer peripherals for a very long time. They usually are step up in quality from the norm and I imagine these earbuds are similar. They do have a similar form to the Apple Airpods, so they partially hang out of your ear. They are available in both white and black. $120 – www.belkin.com

Jabra, like Belkin, has been making computer headphone peripherals for a long time. They have a good reputation and they offer all the bells a whistles. Jabra also has quite a few models to choose from. These were on sale when I looked them up. Retail is $229 but they can be found for about $149 – www.jabra.com

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

This would be another easy choice for me. I have also owned several Sony wired earbuds over the years and they sound wonderful for the money. These do it all, should sound wonderful, but they are pricy. Retail is $279 but they can be found for $250 at several retailers, including Best Buy. $249 – www.bestbuy.com

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

Although these are made by the arch nemesis of Apple, they are actually compatible with iPhone and are priced considerably lower than the Airpod Pros. They are atractive and have a little nub that helps hold them in place. You can expect similar battery life to the Apples (about 5 hours) and they are sweat proof. They are also rated well by end users on Best Buys’ web site. $100 - www.bestbuy.com

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Food

“Being The Ricardos” & “Belfast” Reviewed

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Beverage

and More

by Chris Narloch

he Oscar race has begun, with more serious, year-end movies finding their way into theaters and onto streaming sites, in hopes of potential awards consideration in the coming months. Below I review two such films, one inspired by director Kenneth Branagh’s own childhood and the other a starry biopic about Lucille Ball and her first husband, Desi Arnaz.

T he cast of Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast”

Belfast Another “true story” that may still be playing on one or two area movie screens, “Belfast” is actor Kenneth Branagh’s fictionalized love letter to the town where he grew up -- before the tumult of the late 1960s tore apart the capital of Northern Ireland. Branagh wrote and directed the film, and it’s obviously a passion project for him. On the plus side, I loved the black-and-white look of the movie, and the performances by Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Caitriona Balfe, and Jude Hill are top-notch. I did feel, however, that Branagh’s script and direction were too often unsubtle, and I found the overuse of music by the great Van Morrison on the soundtrack distracting.

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem costar in “Being the Ricardos.”

Being the Ricardos This pedigreed production was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and stars Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as the famous married comedy couple who made “I Love Lucy” a phenomenon watched by tens of millions of people each week during the ‘50s. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz played Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on that show, and Kidman and Bardem tackle both roles, as the film follows their rocky marriage and the enormous stresses “I Love Lucy” put on their relationship. We see the real-life pair battling behind-the-scenes and then watch them film famous bits from their show as Lucy and Ricky. I really wanted to like “Being the Ricardos,” but if I’m being honest, I simply could not get past the casting. Nicole Kidman is an excellent dramatic actress, but she’s not known for comedy, and she’s definitely not funny here. Sorkin is more interested in showing us the ball-busting side of Ball, who, at the height of her TV success, had to battle the network, her showrunner, the show’s sponsors, and even erroneous claims that she was a Communist. Kidman has been made up and coiffed to resemble Ball, but her voice and her mannerisms aren’t quite right, and Sorkin never allows her to be funny except when Lucille is playing Lucy. Off-camera, Ball is depicted as kind of a shrew. Javier Bardem also throws himself into his role, but he looks and sounds nothing like the real Desi Arnaz. Capturing famous folks this familiar to audiences is a very tall order indeed. Sorkin and his actors swing for the fences with this ambitious, risky movie, but for my money the result is three strikes you’re out. “Being the Ricardos” begins streaming on Amazon Prime on Tuesday, Dec. 21st. outwordmagazine.com

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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Julia Child Bio Opens at The Tower Theatre December 10

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ulia” brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women. Using neverbefore-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge, mouth-watering food cinematography, the film traces Julia Child’s 12 year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose – and her fame – at 50, and took America along on the whole delicious journey.

Cookware Fit For A King – Or A Vice President

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by Ron Tackitt

nyone that has even a passing interest in cooking knows that good cookware not only makes a difference, but it is not cheap. And premium cookware that uses copper, either imbedded or used externally, is even better. Copper is a great conductor of heat and helps to reduce, or eliminate hot spots in your pots and pans and allow for even cooking.

22 Outword Magazine

From what has been thrown about online, this Ruffoni Hammered Copper cookware is similar to what our very own Vice President of the United States bought while in France, with her own hard-earned money. It’s beautiful and will last a lifetime. Kamala will surely produce delicious meals with the pieces she bought. However, most people would not want the maintenance of keeping the copper shining, but I’m sure Madam VP will have that all taken care of. Here’s to many wonderful evenings enjoying delicious food, Mrs. Harris. And it’s certainly way less costly than a golfing trip to Mar a Largo, paid for by the tax payers of the USA. Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper 7-Piece Cookware Set, $999 www.WilliamsSonoma.com

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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D Out & About

rag Queen Bingo on Thursday December 2nd was so much fun, supporting WEAVE and their annual Toy Drive! Thanks to everyone who brought toys and helped to also raise more than $1500. Next DQB is Jan 6th supporting the Sacramento Gay Mens Chorus. photos by Ron Tackitt

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December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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How the iPhone 13 Becomes a Pro Camera

by Audio(video)Dork

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ne of the main reasons I bought the new iPhone 13 is for the camera, because I was certain the majority of the changes were otherwise very incremental. But the advances made to the camera seemed impressive. In case you’re wondering, the camera on the iPhone 13 Pro Max is spectacular. So, when I saw this accessory, I couldn’t help but want to give it a try.

Shift Cam’s ProGrip for smart phones. Photo courtesy of Shiftcam.com

At first glance the Shift Cam ProGrip is basically just a pro-style handle that fits on your smart phone and gives you a nice grip and a dedicated shutter button. However, the more I play with it the more I realized what other things it does. Besides being a grip and button it also has a tripod input, a cold shoe slot for an auxiliary light and it will extend the battery life of your phone up to three times what it would do alone using its own built in battery/charger. The shape of the Shift Cam ProGrip is also specifically designed to allow it to be used as a stand for your phone.

I bought mine on Black Friday and got a substantial discount, but even at full retail this really is a good value given everything it does. It is well worth taking a bit of time to check out Shift Cam’s web site. Not only do they produce this grip handle, they do a slew of other ad ons to take your phone photography to the next level, and maybe beyond. So, if you are looking for a gift for the geek that has everything and loves taking pics with their phone, be sure to check out this slick add on. $149 - www.shiftcam.com

Let the LeafJet Blow You Away

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by AudioDorkSac

his may not seem like much of a Holiday gift, but I would be quite happy if I had gotten it for Christmas (instead of buying it for myself). Unlike some people I know, I don’t mind doing yard work. It provides a little excersize and it is mindless activity. I used to, kinda, dread dragging out the 100 foot extension cord and lugging it behind a big, heavy blower/mulcher, and now I don’t have to. The Worx LeafJet has replaced my old, electric, combo blower and I couldn’t be happier. I never used the mulcher portion of my old blower so this ultra-compact, superpowerful leaf blower is all I really need. It is easily as powerful as the old corded one, but it is so much lighter and easier to navigate with. Not having to drag the cord around the yard is a huge bonus! I wish the battery lasted a bit longer, but I have bought two extras to ensure I can get the whole yard taken care of in one shot. This is a great yard tool and I actually have fun using it. Look for it on sale… Worx 20V Power Share Cordless LeafJet Leaf Blower, $149 – www.worx.com

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The LeafJet versus the old, corded blower...

December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

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Fancy Underwear For The Holidays

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by Ron Tackitt

’m not quite sure how I ended up on the Jake Adams email blast list but they send out an email almost every day. In and of itself that could be quite annoying, but they do include some very attractive underwear models in their emails…

LGBTQ+ Friendly DVD Sales & Rentals

I’m not a “fancy underwear” kind of person but I have to say I have been thinking a pair or two of Jack Adams might be fun. I’m sure wearing them won’t make me look like one of the models, but hey, one can dream. Right? I do think some of their underwear would make a great Christmas gift for the fancy inclined. However, while the site is fairly mundane, the emails are pretty and provocative. www.jackadamsusa.com

Magazines Toys

Leather

Lingerie

Novelties Gifts

Accessories

Knowledgeable & Helpful Staff

2531 Broadway

(at 26th St. in Sacramento)

(916) 736-3467

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December 9, 2021 - December 23, 2021 • No. 686

Photos courtesy of jackadamsusa.com

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