Utah’s Gay and Lesbian Biweekly Newspaper Volume 2 ■ Issue 17 August 18–31
Rape in Utah
Numbers Reveal Hidden Issues of Sexual Violence
Domestic Partner Registry in SLC? Mayor Rocky Explores Ways to Recognize Gay Couples
Flag Football League Goes to Super Bowl Local league finishes its inaugural year
Teenage Blogger Flip-Flops, Defends Ex-Gay Camp Ruby Takes On Makeover Television Salt Lake’s Famous Brothels in Lambda Lore Lagoon Day, Raging Waters Day Gay Agenda
News WORLD AND NATIONAL
SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
Blogger Teen Now Defending Ex-Gay Facility by Ross von Metzke Memphis, Tenn—The Tennessee teen who gained worldwide attention after detailing his fear of being sent to an “ex-gay” camp in an Internet posting has now posted a follow-up blog saying the entire situation has been blown out of proportion. But gay activists who have rallied in opposition of the camp say the posting shows signs of intimidation. After coming out to his parents, Zach Stark, 16, was enrolled June 6 at Refuge for a reported eight-week session. The Christian facility, a branch of Love In Action, specializes in converting gay youth to heterosexuality. It receives adolescent referrals from Exodus, an organization devoted to helping gay adults become heterosexual. In Stark’s June 3 blog, he expressed uncertainty about the upcoming retreat. A mention of suicidal thoughts quickly garnered widespread attention, shining the spotlight on the dangers of ex-gay organizations across the country. But in his latest blog, posted August 1, Stark states that he “is annoyed towards a lot of things,” including that his blog posts were taken out of perspective and Love In Action was misrepresented. The blog makes no mention of Stark’s 56-day stay at Refuge. In the blog, Stark says that homosexuality is still a “factor” for him, but he won’t let it “run my life.” He also includes an apparent slap at gay activists who led a campaign against Love In Action. “I refuse to deal with people who are only focused on their one-sided (biased) agendas,” Stark writes. “It isn’t fair to anyone.” John Smid, Love In Action’s executive director, declined comment on Stark’s postings, while gay groups said they would continue to question the ex-gay program’s efforts. The Tennessee Department of Heath is currently running an investigation of the organization’s treatment methods. Stark’s original posting led Memphis residents to form the Queer Action Coalition, which began daily demonstrations at the Love In Action offices to raise awareness of the dangers of ex-gay therapy. Responding to the teen’s latest blog, Queer Action Coalition founder Morgan Fox said the group has great respect for Stark. “We have always tried to protect his identity and his rights,” he said, noting the group never divulged the teen’s last name, which was obtained by media outlets. “But we’ve always said from the beginning that this is not all about Zach.” Wayne Besen, a gay author who studies the ex-gay movement and has followed Stark’s story, said he is certain that some type of coercion was exerted on the teen,
given the wording of his latest blog. “It’s disconcerting because the boy who blogged before entering the program has a different voice,” said Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. ”The boy who blogged after the program is no longer a free-spirited young man.” Besen recently posted on his website, www.waynebesen.com, a letter by a cofounder of Love In Action criticizing the conversion program. Former ex-gay John Evans, who co-founded Love In Action with Rev. Kent Philpott in 1973, sent the letter July 30 to Smid, the ministry’s current director. “In the past 30 years since leaving the ‘ex-gay’ ministry I have seen nothing but shattered lives, depression, and even suicide among those connected with the ‘ex-gay’ movement,” Evans wrote.
New Plan Proposed to Halt Massachusetts Gay Marriages by Ross von Metzke Boston, Mass—Gay marriage opponents in Massachusetts filed a ballot initiative with the state just one day before the deadline to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriages, a move that casts doubt on the future of another ballot initiative pending in the Legislature. The Massachusetts Family Institute submitted the citizens’ petition with 30 signatures, including that of Raymond L. Flynn, a former mayor of Boston. The initiative would define marriage as between a man and a woman. It is part of an effort to overturn the legalization of same-gender marriage, which the Supreme Judicial Court legalized in 2003. After the Supreme Court ruling, lawmakers reached a compromise ban that would allow Vermont-style civil unions. That version passed in one joint session of the Legislature, called the Constitutional Convention. It must be approved a second time. In June, the Massachusetts Family Institute and a coalition of other groups opposed to gay marriage said they were launching the effort to amend the state constitution and pledged to seek the defeat of the earlier version. Governor Mitt Romney withdrew his support for the compromise ban and threw his support behind the new plan, saying the pending constitutional amendment had “muddied” the issue of gay marriage by legalizing civil unions. After the new initiative is approved by Attorney General Thomas Reilly’s office, proponents must gather about 66,000 signatures. Then the measure would have to be approved by two Constitutional Conventions in a row before it would be put to voters in 2008.
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News NATIONAL AND REGIONAL
SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
Gay Rights ‘Stealth’ Issue for Supreme Court in Coming Years by Ross von Metzke Washington D.C.—Abortion may be the dominant topic of discussion at next month’s Senate hearings on whether to confirm John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court, but media analysts are saying that gay rights is the stealth issue. Major players in Washington D.C. all seem to agree that while the Democrats aren’t as eager to push for same-gender marriage as they are to protect abortion, there is little question that the leading edge of civil rights law involves lesbians and gays rather than questions of gender and racial equality. Over the next decade or more—and if confirmed, the 50-year-old Roberts could be on the court for 30 years—activists on both sides expect the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of state bans on same-gender marriage, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denying homosexuals federal benefits conferred by marriage, and the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians in the military. Several such cases already are moving through lower courts in several states, though they may be several years away from the Supreme Court. “I don’t think there’s any question such cases ultimately will come before the Supreme Court,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading social conservative group that supports President Bush’s nomination of Roberts to the court. Jon Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal, a gay advocacy group, agreed. “Whoever gets appointed is going to be on the court for a long time, and eventually, these issues are going to reach the Supreme Court,” Davidson said. Although the stakes are high, political reporters at the Washington Times suggest that both sides are downplaying the issue for strategic reasons. Some gay leaders warn against making gay issues a focus of the confirmation hearings, fearing such a move could backfire. Religious conservatives want to avoid imposing a litmus test on gay rights so that liberals cannot demand one on abortion. The sensitivity of the issue of gay rights became clear last week with the revelation that Roberts provided free legal advice for gay plaintiffs on a groundbreaking 1996 Supreme Court case, Romer vs. Evans, which struck down a Colorado ballot initiative banning antidiscrimination laws for gays. The work sparked momentary alarm among religious conservatives that Roberts could harbor secret sympathies. Most
religious conservatives said they had been assured that Roberts would be reluctant as a judge to overturn the will of voters or legislators despite his work on Romer, although a Virginia group, Public Advocate of the United States, said Tuesday it would oppose his nomination. Gay rights groups have said his work on the case does nothing to reassure them. The only gay rights-related case on next term’s Supreme Court docket addresses whether colleges can keep military recruiters off their campuses because the military discriminates against gays. Bigger issues may still be several years off. Gay rights groups have said they are highly skeptical of Roberts on the basis of his decisions in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and his work for the Reagan and first Bush administrations that imply a narrow view of the judiciary’s role in overseeing executive and legislative action. They will be concentrating on whether Roberts believes the Constitution contains a right to privacy, and whether he believes the Romer case he helped win was correctly decided.
Federal Marriage Amendment Placed on Hold Denver, Colo.—The author of legislation seeking to ban gay marriage at the federal level has announced that she will put the issue aside as she prepares for re-election. “We’re kind of waiting to see what happens,” Rep. Marilyn Musgrave told the Associated Press. “There is overwhelming support for marriage to be defined as the union between a man and a woman. We’ll see what happens before I run it up again.” Musgrave’s statement came after the Retain Our Majority Program, a political action committee run by House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, voted her one of the ten most vulnerable Republican incumbents up for re-election. Although Musgrave retained her seat in 2004 by a narrow majority, she said she thinks she will be re-elected. Recently, Musgrave has drawn criticism from Democrats and beet farmers in her mostly-Republican district for her backing of the Central American Free Trade, which would cut subsides for American produce farmers. Democrats have also said her support for Rep. Tom Tancredo’s strict anti-illegal immigration program is not representative of her district’s views on the subject.—JV
Meth Conference Hopes to Combat Misinformation by Kim Burgess email@example.com With sponsorship from health departments around the country, the upcoming conference on methamphetamine has drawn nearly 800 attendees, including visitors from as far as Australia and Nepal. Top scientists will discuss meth use in a variety of populations and techniques to reduce its health consequences, which include severe dental problems, malnutrition and brain damage as well as increased risk of HIV and hepatitis through heightened sexuality and needle sharing. While the conference is primarily designed for law enforcement, public health, medical and social workers, Luciano Colonna, executive director of the Harm Reduction Project, would encourage anyone to attend who would like to know more about meth and its connection to HIV and hepatitis. “If I had a child who was on meth, I’d be there in a heartbeat and bring the child with me,” he said. Queer men may have a particular interest in the conference after the extensive media coverage of a New York City man who has allegedly spread a more virulent strain of HIV during meth-induced sex binges. The afternoon of August 19 will feature a major session on “Meth Using Men Who Have Sex with Men” with prominent speakers including Michael Siever, Ph.D., director of the Stonewall Project, and Susan Kingston of the Drug Abuse and HIV Prevention Team at Seattle’s King County Health Dept. In commenting on the queer popula-
tion, Colonna said that he believes the connection between meth and HIV is complex. “Meth increases sexual pleasure,” he said. “Men get harder erections for longer. We see bottoms becoming tops and tops becoming bottoms, which changes health risks. But it’s not as simple as someone using meth and forgetting to use a condom. We hear about men saying, ‘Let’s go get some meth and have an orgy,’ like it’s planned ahead of time. Meth is just one piece in a puzzle about HIV rates and sexual behavior. We don’t know all the factors around HIV infections.” Colonna also cautioned against stigmatizing meth users, worrying that conservative groups will use information about meth and sexuality against the gay community and against mothers who are meth users. “All kinds of bad reporting is out there in the traditional media, from the Chicago Tribune to the New York Times,” Colonna said. “They’re talking about meth babies with arms growing out of their backs and saying there is a new Patient 0 all of a sudden who is spreading this new HIV. It’s a bunch of nonsense. There is no concrete evidence that meth helped create a super strain of HIV. They could use that to further marginalize people.” The conference is designed to combat this kind of stigma with non-judgmental information. “We’re hoping to cause a ripple effect across the country,” Colonna said. “We don’t expect to solve anything, but at least to get a start. A lot of people will have different opinions. It’s our goal to bring all of these people together. We’d like to start some unique collaboration.”
If Vaginas Get Monologues, then Breasts Get Dialogues
Goodtimes Bowling Returns Scott Millar, president of the Goodtimes Bowling League, has announced that the 2005-2006 fall-winter season is about to begin. Returning teams should check in if they intend to participate again. New bowlers and beginners are especially welcome. Teams consist of four bowlers and the league will help place single players into teams. The league requires membership cards that are good for a year, and $10 per bowler per night. League funds help support local charities, league advertising costs and events. The season begins at 7:00 p.m. on August 28 at Bonwood Bowl (2500 Main street). Balls and rental shoes available.
Choir Seeks New Singers Salt Lake Men’s Choir is about to begin its 23rd season, meaning it’s time to welcome new singers into the fold. Those interested in joining the choir are invited to attend one of the first two rehearsals, Thursday August 18 or 25, at All Saints Episcopal Church, 1700 S. Foothill Blvd. The choir is open to all who want to sing and agree with its mission. Singers will sing scales for the artistic director to determine voice parts and balance. saltlakemenschoir.org
Salem, Ore.—An organization that successfully sponsored a measure that amended Oregon’s constitution to prohibit gay marriage has been fined nearly $19,811 for failing to report $58,000 in campaign donations before a required deadline. Although the state election division said the errors in reporting were not intentional, the department said the stringent state rules for reporting contributions gave them little choice but to levy the fine. “It’s a failure to follow the rules and would have been easily avoided had the [coalition’s] treasurer paid attention to the reporting requirements,” the Associated Press quoted Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, as saying. Bradbury’s office oversees state elections. The Defense of Marriage Coalition will contest the fine, according to Kristian Roggendorf, their legal counsel. Although Roggendorf said there were “some errors
on the reporting forms,” he added that the Coalition would protest the inability to correct campaign reports without penalty. “It’s just a flaw in the system,” he told the Statesman Journal.—JV
No Decision on Gay Adoption Topeka, Kan.—The chairwoman of Kansas’ Joint Committee on Children’s Issues has, for the current time, tabled discussion of a statewide ban on gay adoption in the interest of other matters. “I have a full agenda,” Rep. Willa DeCastro, R-Wichita, told the Kansas City Star. She added that the proposed ban “didn’t make the cut with this chairman.” Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, brought up the proposal, asking the state to look into the matter earlier this year. His request was sent to the joint committee, which oversees issues of child health and safety when the state legislature is out of session. Although the proposal could be discussed later in the year, DeCastro said she would not make it one of her priorities.—JV
After playing to a packed house last year, sWerve and the Center team up to present The Breast Dialogues again this year. Whether hilarious or poignant, when women talk honestly about their breasts you can be sure it’s an experience to remember. This year’s performance for women will take place on Saturday, August 20 in the Center’s multi-purpose room between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. For information, contact the Center at 539-8800.
Do Penises Get Soliloquies? Registration is now open for the National Gay Men’s Health Summit, taking place October 19-23 in Salt Lake City. Building on the success of the annual Invenio summits, which focused on local gay, bisexual or transgender men, this year organizers decided to play host to a national summit. The Summit brings together queer men to address topics ranging from physical health to emotional, spiritual and social health. This year’s objectives are summed up as: to celebrate, to heal, to strengthen, and to strategize. To register, or for more information, log on to the website at ngmhs2005.com. Early bird registration (with reduced rates) is available until September 19. Out-of-town visitors can also secure great room rates by reserving them early.
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For more information, contact Scott Millar at 440-9405 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon Fines Anti-Gay Marriage Group
SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
Sexual Violence a Problem in Utah
Tickets available at all Smith’sTix Outlets, 467-TIXX, 1-800-888-TIXX, www.smithstix.com, & The E Center.
by Jere Keys email@example.com Studies conducted by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice are drawing attention to the staggering problem of sexual violence in Utah. Although Utah is well below the national average for most crime rates, our rate for sexual violence has been significantly higher than national norms since 1991. In “Rape in Utah,” the CCJJ surveyed more than 1,200 women above the age of 18. The findings of the survey suggest that nearly one in three Utah women will experience some form of sexual violence in her lifetime. The vast majority of women knew their attacker, but most commonly the attacker was an acquaintance. “As heinous as these impacts are, many Utahns would be surprised how common these crimes are,” the reports states. “Of the violent crimes that occur in Utah, rape is the only one in which Utah’s rate is above the nation’s average. In fact, when considering other types of violent crime, such as murder, robbery, or aggravated assault, Utah’s rate is historically half to three times lower than the nation’s average.” Among victims of sexual assault: 44.2% reported their first sexual assault occurred by the age of 10. 80.8% reported their first sexual assault occurred by the age of 15. 86.2% reported their first sexual assault occurred by the age of 18. The study also found that less than 10% of victims either sought medical attention or reported the attacks to the police. Only 2.9% of victims contacted a rape crisis line (although roughly a third have sought counseling), despite the fact that a majority of people surveyed were aware of services in their communities for victims, including rape crisis centers. An earlier report, “Sexual Violence in Utah: 2005,” examined statistics about all forms of sexual violence including rape, fondling, statutory rape and incest. The study also took a look at sexual violence between members of the same gender. “Same sex offenses are an often overlooked aspect of sexual victimization. Not only is there a myth that females are not perpetrators of sexual crimes, but perhaps even more rarely do people think in terms of females victimizing members of their own sex,” said this report. “In addition, there may be a tendency to blame male victims of sexual assault more than female victims, especially those victimized by male perpetrators. Further, many people
are simply unaware that same sex sexual violence occurs. For those who are aware, there may be a misconception that it is not as bad as male-female sexual violence.” The study found that same gender sexual offenses accounted for 17.6% of all sexual assaults studied. Nearly one quarter of forcible fondling assaults involved people of the same gender. Of the total number of cases studied, same gender violent offenses (sodomy and object rape) were more commonly male-on-male (10.9%) than female-onfemale (0.9%). The same was true with regard to fondling, which was male-onmale in 18.4% of the cases and female-onfemale in only 3.7% of the cases. Although sexual assault by strangers was uncommon for all cases in Utah, assaults by strangers were even less common among same gender cases. In all cases, victims and offenders were both younger on average than those involved in opposite gender assaults. The average victim age in same gender sexual assaults was 10.7, versus 15.8 in opposite gender cases. Offenders averaged an age of 21.6 for same gender cases, whereas the average was 29.2 years of age for opposite gender assaults. The report notes that many of the emotions and traumas associated with same gender assaults are the same as those for opposite gender assaults, however, victims of same gender assault face unique challenges. “They may even be confronted with additional barriers such as a real, or imagined, lack of services available to assist them with their recovery,” said the report. “Even if they are aware of services in their community for victims, they may feel like they will not be offered the support they need. Same sex victims may carry the fear that they will encounter prejudice as a result of the crimes committed against them. The reporting rates for same sex victims may be even lower because of these types of confounding factors.” It is important to note that the Utah study did not collect data involving how either victims or offenders self-identify their sexual orientation. National studies have suggested that many, if not most, same gender sexual assaults involving minors are committed by people who are likely to be married or involved in an opposite gender relationship and identify as heterosexual. The Utah reports are at www.justice.utah.gov
Partner Registry, Benefits in Salt Lake?
Salt Lake City Council candidate Derek Dyer
Pro-Gay Candidate Starts Bid for SLC Council Seat by Joel Shoemaker firstname.lastname@example.org Derek Dyer says that last spring after Equality Utah Chair Jane Marquardt dropped out of the race for Salt Lake City Council’s District 3 seat, he just couldn’t stand by and let things continue status quo with no one bringing a challenge to the district’s incumbent. “I think there’s a view that the city council now is way too conservative. I‘ll bring more progressive ideas,” said Dyer. In August, Dyer registered as a candidate and began fundraising to run against current District 3 council member Eric Jergensen, who Dyer says is just too conservative for his diverse district, which includes Capitol Hill and the Avenues. “Jergensen lets his [Mormon] religious bias get in the way of his decision making,” said Dyer. “If he lived in Provo he’d be perfect, but the Avenues is more forward thinking.” As a former art gallery owner and current executive director of the Utah Arts Alliance, a non-profit group dedicated to fostering arts by providing venues and education to the community, thirty year-old Dyer has worked with city government to help promote the arts. But he says the council has fallen short of the promises they have made to make downtown more inviting to artists.
As a council member, Dyer says one of his main objectives will be to support artists and help nurture smaller non-profit groups. As for gay and lesbian issues, Dyer says he will be a strong ally. He supports gay marriage and rights for co-habitating adults. “I basically believe in equal rights for everyone,” Dyer said. “Any opportunity to promote gay and lesbian issues I would take. I think it would be great to have at least one city council member who would give the gay and lesbian community a voice.” If elected, Dyer says he’ll also work on environmental issues including broadening the city’s recycling program to include glass and foam and working to reduce pollution. As a non-denominational Christian, he says he’ll work to open more discussion about religious tension in the city. And he’ll work to make government more accessible and easy to work with for business owners and individuals. To win, he will not only have to battle an incumbent, but will have to overcome lower voter turnout in a non-presidential election year. Dyer expects his campaign to cost between $2,500 and $5,000, of which he’s raised about $500.
AIDS Funding Action
The Center is in the process of starting up a queer book club to discuss on a regular basis literature of interest to queer people. As part of the national queer book club, the club will read and discuss the books together with similar groups across the country. And you thought only Oprah could get that many gay men to the bookstore! In order to get the group up and running, the Center would like to identify a volunteer facilitator who will lead discussion and help get the group organized. If you’re interested, please contact Jennifer Nuttall of the Center at 539-8800.
and colleges (including the University of Utah) offered such benefits to same-gender partners, she decided it was “time to ask the question again”. Though both politicians have promised to pursue the matter, they do so facing several unknowns. For one thing, the number of city employees who would be eligible needs to be determined, as does the cost to taxpayers. In last month’s vote on domestic partner benefits, Salt Lake County estimated extending the benefits would cost it anywhere between $35,000 and $75,000 each year. Further, it is not known whether Anderson would even need to bring the matter before the council, or if he could instigate it himself by executive order. Additionally, Anderson has also proposed the creation of a domestic partner registry that would allow gay and straight partners to register their relationships at City Hall. Though such registries have not typically given couples any additional rights, city attorneys are looking into whether or not Amendment 3’s language would forbid the creation of such a registry. Enacted at the beginning of 2005, the amendment stipulates that “no domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.” According to a spokeswoman for Anderson, the mayor hopes to announce more definite tactics in the near future. “We expect to have something soon,” she said. “It’s still being investigated by city attorneys.”
More information about Dyer’s campaign is available at www.derekdyer.com.
HIV/AIDS activist Stuart Merrill is calling on the community to help express support for state funding for the Utah AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Last year, shortfalls in federal funding levels concerned local HIV/AIDS activists that money might not be available if the state didn’t step up to the plate. This year, Merrill is asking the community to attend a public hearing at the Utah Department of Health to emphasize our need for state funds to help support important and lifesaving drug assistance programs. The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31 from 4:00–6:00 p.m. at the Utah Dept. of Health (288 N. 1460 West), room 114. Merrill can be reached at email@example.com.
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by JoSelle Vanderhooft firstname.lastname@example.org One month after a Salt Lake County measure seeking to offer benefits to same-sex partners of government employees went down in defeat, two city politicians have resurrected the idea. Last week, Mayor Rocky Anderson and City Councilwoman Jill Remington Love announced plans to offer domestic partner benefits like health and dental insurance to the partners of gay employees. The benefits would also be extended to the partners of straight employees and to those living with parents and siblings. Although both politicians have said they’ve been considering extending these benefits for years, Love said she hadn’t known that Anderson was working on the idea until last Thursday. “I’ve wondered why the mayor hasn’t been working on it,” she told the Salt Lake Tribune in early August. She described herself as having “always been in favor of equal benefits for employees, regardless of sexual orientation.” Anderson, in turn, had not known about Love’s interest in extending domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian couples until he received a letter from her early this month. Love said she began looking into the possibility of expanding the benefits after her election in 2001. At the time, however, she was told doing so would cost too much. After learning that nearly half of Fortune 500 companies, 11 states, 129 city and county governments and 295 universities
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Why Is Rape Such a Problem in Utah? By now, you’ve probably seen one of the many reports in the last few weeks about Utah’s sexual violence statistics. Every news source in the state is reporting that while the Beehive State is safer in almost every other area (theft, murder, assault, etc.), we soar above national norms when it comes to sexual assault—rape, child molestation, incest, etc. The funny thing is, despite all the publicity the topic is getting, there seems to be a rather deafening silence from the editorial pages of the papers on the topic of “why?” Why are Utah women more likely to be assaulted, coerced, molested, or raped than women in (for example) Nebraska? Perhaps it’s because the answer is sure to get angry letters and tick off a significant portion of the state’s population (a majority even). Yes, yes, we know, the LDS church has angrily denounced rape, abuse and all forms of sexual violence time and time again. Before we get the angry emails, we will admit that we applaud the leadership of the church for trying to crack down on the problem. However, we believe that the church is responsible for three important beliefs that have led to an atmosphere throughout the Utah culture which have created and fostered this problem for decades. First, the LDS church teaches that the “divine plan” involves specific roles for men and women. According to the infamous proclamation on family, men provide for the family, women nurture at home. While the proclamation insists that men and women are equal partners, any feminist theory will tell you that once you give people strict “roles” based on gender, you begin reducing them to objects instead of people. Second, the LDS church has become one
of the most prudish religions in the country. Petting, necking, masturbation, pornography, oral sex (even in marriage), anal sex (ditto), immodesty, and any kind of sex outside of marriage are on the official “no-no” list according to official statements by LDS leaders. Well, think of Catholic priests—after denying themselves any kind of healthy sex lives for years, too many have developed unhealthy relationships. The same thing happens in Utah. If we were to encourage sexual exploration that is healthy, open and without shame, many people would be less likely to commit violent sexual crimes in the first place. Look to our own model for dealing with men caught having sex in public—through counseling and open dialogue without judgment, we have one of the nation’s best rates for preventing repeat offenses. Finally, speaking of shame, a bit of research into LDS doctrine has also uncovered some seriously disturbing statements that place the blame for sexual violence on the victims. In one such statement apostle Richard G Scott said, during the Spring General Conference of 1992, “At some point in time, however, the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse. Your priesthood leader will help assess your responsibility so that, if needed, it can be addressed.” We find this attitude disgusting and perverse and LDS leaders would do well to retract every similar statement in the strongest language possible. It’s time we realized these teaching and beliefs, which are so influential within our community, for what they are. They are not simply philosophical points of doctrine. They are assaults on the safety, health and well-being of our community.
From the Editor My Secret Identity by Jere Keys email@example.com Hi, my name is Jere, and I’m a comic book addict. It feels good to get that off my chest. Oh, I know that being a comic book fan isn’t as shameful or frowned upon as it was in the past, that celebrity “outings” and even a visible non-stereotyped comic book fan or two on popular television shows has erased much of the public prejudice. However, there are still a great many of us closeted about our secret obsessions out of fear we’ll be called geeks and made fun of. For those people who are inevitably rolling their eyes, allow me one paragraph to defend the medium before you go back to casting judgments with no real experience to base it on. Today’s comics are smart, sophisticated stories with complex characters and plots. They are the modern equivalent of spoken fairy tales, imparting multi-layered morals about character, ethics and personal responsibility. Yes, there are bad and trite comics, but there are also comics that are more worthy of your time than Harry Potter. I bring up my interest in comics because it relates to the daydreams I’ve been having lately. The short version is that I’ve been trying to figure out what “superpowers” would be most useful in fighting for the causes I believe in and helping to make the world a better place. Hey, if you think that’s geeky, you should check out my long-winded essays about Buffy the Vampire Slayer on my blog. You do know what a blog is, don’t you? Have we passed the point where every mention of a blog in print journalism is accompanied with a definition? Okay, I’m assuming from here on out that you understand this phenomenon by which people make magic words appear on the internet using nothing but their brains and a computer keyboard. Anyway, as I’ve been daydreaming about a world where we are all embraced as equals and celebrated in our diversity, I couldn’t think of a single “superpower” that was really all that useful in an ethical and practical way for accomplishing the dream. Sure laser beams would be neat, but messy. I might get laid more often with hypnotic powers, but would it be ethical to make Chris Buttars lick the floors of Equality Utah clean? I wouldn’t mind being able to fly, but I’d get distracted and spend all of my time commuting to the beach. No, the truth is that the best way to arrive at a world of equality is by doing much of what I’m doing now. Believing in it, making educated choices that will help bring it about, and putting in the legwork. Now, for the team of superheroes (like the X-Men or Justice League)… the Utah GLBT Leadership Task Force is poised to become the first successful community-wide network of leaders in years. If you’re a community leader, or want to be, you should be helping to grow this group. We have one of the magic blog thingies, too (360.yahoo.com/utahglbt). Instead of superpowers, I guess I’ll have to settle for a vision of the future, commitment, hard work and teamwork—at least until I get exposed to radioactive lesbian seagull eggs.
Guest Editorial Politics as Usual? by David M. Smith The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. It’s a law that’s older than most Washington interns. And since its enactment, it’s ensured that federal employees are protected from anti-gay discrimination. Now President Bush’s appointee is refusing to investigate claims of sexual orientation-based bias because he thinks the law is unclear. On June 30, members of the U.S. House introduced a bill that would clarify things for Scott Bloch, who manages the Office of Special Counsel. Under no public pressure from the White House to do otherwise, Bloch is apparently single-handedly rolling back protections for gay employees that have existed for almost three decades. I want to be clear about our position on this bill. We’re not happy about it. Congress should be focusing on enacting protections for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, not renovating a law that’s in perfectly good shape already — that five administrations have interpreted to protect lesbian and gay federal employees from job discrimination. But this is where we’re at: politics as usual with the Bush White House. It would not be necessary if President Bush would quit doing one thing and saying another. In April of 2004, President Bush said he supports protections for gay federal employees. Today, he’s either turning a blind eye as his own appointee in charge of enforcing
these protections is refusing to do so or he’s providing backroom approval of the rollback in protection for federal workers. Our message to President Bush is clear: enforce a law that your father’s administration enforced and President Reagan’s administration enforced before that. This bill serves to remind the president of the importance of this non-discrimination legacy. Because the federal workforce is the nation’s largest employer, any attempt to roll back protections there has a chilling affect on efforts to achieve protections elsewhere. As we work day in and day out to ensure protections from discrimination against gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation, both at the federal level and in businesses across America, we must do everything we can to keep protections we have intact. This bill would do this. But, sadly, there’s nothing new to this bill. It merely works to ensure that there’s no lost ground when it comes to protections for the federal workforce. More must be done. The Human Rights Campaign remains fully and unequivocally committed to new law that would protect all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. With a decade of support for sexual orientation-based legislation in Congress, we’re working to bolster support for gender identity protections. As you read this, we are preparing a publication for legislators detailing the challenges faced by transgender Americans in the workplace, in health care and in communities across the nation. We’re continuing a cam-
paign on Capitol Hill that sheds light on stories of gender identity-based discrimination on the job. And we’re mounting an in-district lobbying campaign so that members of Congress can’t use their constituents as an excuse. Yes, we must go further than this bill. But we can’t do it alone. The dire need for broader, comprehensive workplace legislation must be a priority for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender American. Indeed,
when we stand together, we stand strongest.
Credibility for gays and lesbians can only be secured when the truth is told. I have encouraged you to tell the truth but it appears your version of the truth for the Salt Lake Metro is accurate for you only when it comes in partial truths. You do a disservice to our community by continuing to take this slant on history.
Metro Has a Vendetta Dear Editor: I noticed on your time line of Utah gay history: ‘Babs De Lay testifies against Pam Parson.’ [July 21, 2005 Salt Lake Metro: “Queer Utah History”] Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to put: “Utah Native Pam Parsons and Her Lover Convicted of Federal Perjury For Lying that She Was A Lesbian?” Instead, your ‘historical’ nugget states a fact with no outcome. I’m beginning to think (after your ‘time line’ and the previous article on the trial 20 years ago) that your publication and ‘historian’ have a vendetta against me. You are perpetuating the historical blurs of gay history in your publication. Your lack of facts you keep printing in the Metro are not good and accurate reporting. I’m feeling from your magazine that you think I am the guilty one for standing up for truth—and not Parsons and her lover. I remind you that I was not convicted in Federal Court for lying to a Federal Judge—they were the ones convicted and who served almost two years in Federal Prison for lying and defrauding the courts.
David M. Smith is Vice President of Policy and Strategy for the Human Rights Campaign. HRC is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community
Babs De Lay Salt Lake City Publisher’s Note: We have no vendetta against you, Babs. I have always supported you testifying against Parsons. In fact, if you will remember, as publisher of Community Reporter at the time of this incident, I editorialized in favor of your actions. I was one of few people that I remember who did publicly support you at that time. Timelines are meant to remind people of an event and perhaps encourage them to learn more. The five-word version that I placed on the graphic is accurate, succinct and compelling. Your 14-word version simply would not have fit in such a small space. I understand you were persecuted for this twenty-one years ago. Please remember, however, that you have supporters in me and Salt Lake Metro.
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William T. Park You Must Love Big Brother
SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
by William Todd Park firstname.lastname@example.org We take it for granted that rhetoric is supposed to be, well, rhetorical. It exaggerates how things really are for the sake of making a point. We’ve all heard politicians and marketers using rhetoric in their presentations that spin reality into images that, at their best, inspire us to action and sacrifice
for some greater good or perhaps just push that credit card into the throes of plastic meltdown. At its worst, rhetoric incites the ignorant to indecency and violence, ironically in the name of that same greater good. At what point, though, do we wake up from our information-overload-induced stupor and actually weigh the message? How much of a blatant lie needs to be passed off as fact before the common man stands and shouts, “Bullshit!”? The growing lack of sensitivity to government gerrymandering says that far too many Americans would rather be told what to think and be entertained than actually engage their brains in some creative or productive way. Because even Washington leaders know that: the White House carefully crafts and quietly disseminates guidance on how America’s brains are to be anesthetized. In a number of news accounts, Kenneth Tomlinson, who heads up the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is being fingered as effectively politicizing his institution and its leadership by pursuing policies and executive appointments at the behest of the White House. This flies in the face of one of the CPB’s major roles as a firewall between politicians and broadcast journalism. The President has an agenda, however, and has apparently designated public broadcasting as his venue of choice in establishing his own Orwellian Ministry of Truth. As Bush spelled it out just a couple
of months ago, “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Aside from essentially admitting to regularly distorting the truth, he tidily puts the package together with the FCC’s loosening of ownership regulations, setting the wheels in motion to banish the independent broadcasting voice to outer darkness where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of thought-provoking teeth. The fate of independent broadcasting is far from apocalyptic, even though the slogan of the totalitarian party in George Orwell’s novel 1984 was utterly prophetic: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” Much like the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, thinking is the one thing that the Bush administration apparently does not want its subjects to do. The Church didn’t want the common folk to have their own Bibles lest they actually question authority. Karl Rove, Bush’s senior advisor and chief political strategist, has stayed the course on this time-tested tactic and has aimed for the heart rather than the head in formulating a campaign strategy. He pointed out that, “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans—unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.” Lest we naively assume the government can’t really influence our thoughts, perhaps we should take a cursory look at certain provisions of the “Patriot Act.” Precincts of the thought police have been set up within the ranks of many local and federal law enforcement agencies, transforming libraries
and the Internet from great tools of learning into portals of monitoring. Neither are phone conversations and business transactions safe from intrusion. What was once considered loyal dissent is now outright treasonous if the words of former Attorney General John Ashcroft are any indicator. He warned critics of the Patriot Act that they “give ammunition to America’s enemies.” The direction the president is taking this nation is a perilous one. The noblesounding tenets upon which the United States were founded are being redefined and exchanged for those that are eerily reminiscent of totalitarian regimes we all thought vanquished with the end of the Cold War. Government leadership is being deliberately shifted to religious fundamentalists of one type to wage an ideological war against another brand of extremists, notwithstanding outright military intervention. Unfortunately for us, the threat of extremism is sitting in the Oval Office. In an interview with CNN, he joked, “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” But was he really joking? Asserting that a vast right-wing conspiracy is threatening our constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of the press would simply be alarmist, but consistently pointing out what appears to be still more abuses of executive power by figuratively nailing theses to the government’s cathedral doors might just trigger a new reformation of sorts. Now, remember, you must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him. You must love him, too.
AberRant No, Not That America, the NEW One by Laurie Mecham email@example.com I read the following in a business magazine: “The tech industry is struggling to gain momentum, in part because companies remain thrifty and resourceful, learning to do more with less.” I thought, “Thrifty? Resourceful? What’s the matter with these guys? Don’t they know this is America?” Thrifty and resourceful is old school. We didn’t live through the Depression. We are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers and Thirty-Somethings and whatever it is that People In Their Twenties are called. Yes, many of us recycle and xeriscape, but the overarching American philosophy is bigger, faster, more-more and super-sized. It’s the economy, stupid. I attended a conference recently that had the purpose of supporting non-profit, social justice-related organizations and making me feel like a selfish, worthless, non-contributing bottomfeeder. Anyway, a plenary speaker pointed out that a person who spends the day in the library reading books has done nothing to support the economy because they haven’t purchased anything that day. By contrast, a person who buys a gun and some bullets and shoots another person helps the economy because they spent money. Not only do they support our economic system through the direct purchase of the gun and bullets, they also activate (I had originally written “trigger”) services like paramedics, the police, the legal system and so on. It’s the gosh-danged American way. Not only is it American to hemorrhage money, it is also patriotic to mess up the planet at the same time. Just look at George Bush’s Orwellian-named “Clear Skies Initiative.” A couple years ago I bought a human-powered lawn mower. This is basically an old-fashioned push mower, but mine is a very nice German machine. My neighbor saw me using it and we talked for a minute. I pointed out that an older gas-powered lawn mower emits the equivalent pollution of 40 cars, and he retorted, “What’s the matter with you? We’ve got boys dying in Iraq for oil! You’re being un-American!” His tongue was in his cheek, but I appreciated the irony of the truth he spoke. The wife and I recently went on a reconnaissance mission to Portland to check out neighborhoods and houses. Talk about sticker-shock! I was rather disheartened to find that in the really desirable neighborhoods, we won’t be able to buy much more than a Tuff Shed and a camp toilet. Annie
had developed a budget where she lowballed our resources—projected incomes and what we would gain from the sale of the house—and inflated our expenses. The result gave a very conservative estimate of what we would be able to afford for a house. At the peak of my frustration I whined, “Here’s my scientific budget formula: I am an American. I buy a house, live in it for awhile, sell it, and then I get to buy a better house.” You guys know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up.” But I believe it was Reagan who might have said, “Never go back.” The only two-word phrase that gets a Republican as hot as “same-sex” is “trickle down.” That means buying stuff, preferably on credit. When Americans finish with one car, we get a newer car. When we tire of our old wardrobes, we get new ones. Each successive job is supposed to pay more. This is what we have come to expect. We also expect to get more stuff as time passes. As Americans, we reward the innovators who bring us iPods and faster computers and retro-looking toasters. Americans are also incredibly willing to pay big money for talent or fame, or at least perceived talent or fame, especially if it is highly visible, i.e. it appears on cable TV or at the megaplex. We also pay well for athletic prowess, youth and beauty. My very smart and bee-you-tiful daughter, the one with the great vocabulary, clearly understands the concept. She recently blogged the following: I went to college for a while, then dropped out, went back, dropped out and went back again. At this point I no longer maintain any pretense that I will ever complete my linguistics B.A., and am instead optimistic that I will somehow be able to get by in life using my wits and eyelashes. And the thing is, she will. Man, why didn’t I get eyelashes? The bottom line is that I am trying to make my way in an American economy with not much more than my wits. I’m telling you, in terms of perceived talent, athletic ability, youth and beauty, I am at a huge disadvantage. It takes almost all my wits just to eke out a few yuks. I appreciate those of you who value this, but the Metro can only pay pennies on the word, with a limit of 600 words. Clearly I can’t give up my day job. Except I am giving it up for the Great Relocation of 2005. As of the end of the month, I will be in Employment Limbo. So I’m sending out a plea to my millions to the thousands to all of my fans: If you know anybody in a position of economic power in Portland, Oregon, who would hire someone with the following cover letter, “To Whom it May Concern: I am witty. Please give me a job. Sincerely, Laurie Mecham,” please send me their contact info.
The only twoword phrase that gets a Republican as hot as “same-sex” is “trickle down.”
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Laurie Mecham, once again, is not even kidding.
Ruby Ridge Living Make Over Madness by Ruby Ridge firstname.lastname@example.org So, pumpkins, I dread to ask. Exactly when did television become so bad that a one-hour commercial for washers and dryers became compelling prime-time viewing? I’m talking about ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. You know, the show that just finished taping in Bountiful. It’s based on a lovely idea: take some lower-to-middle class everyman type of family with some appalling back story of tragedy (you know, terminal illness, layoffs, deceased spouses, ugly kitchen wallpaper borders with chickens and pepper mills … that sort of thing), and transform their lives by renovating their house and filling it with state-of-the-art appliances. If that was all there was to it, cupcakes, the show would be fabulous, but nooooo. The producers of the show religiously believe in two things: sentimentality and the healing power of excess. Actually, it’s three things. Sentimentality, excess and shameless in-your-face product placement! Anyway, petals, a typical episode will have perky host Ty Pennington saying something like this: “Viewers, on this episode we’re going to tear down this modest two bedroom, one bath home and replace it with a sixteen bedroom, eight bath, four-story house with three basketball courts, two pool rooms, a wine cellar, and a Jacuzzi big enough for the entire University of Georgia marching band,
and we’re going to do it all in just three days! Now a word from our sponsors: Sears, Pella Windows, Red Bull, and the makers of methamphetamine …” Call me weird, but I just don’t get the whole Ty Pennington mystique. Sure, he has an amazing resume and is a multitalented carpenter, designer, author, and merchandiser, but how this runty little guy got a rep as a sexy heartthrob I’ll never know. Back me up here, cherubs … doesn’t he look like a skinny grocery bagger from Reams? I mean, where the hell are the big muscular carpenters, the husky electricians, the burly plumbers with their fuzzy butt-cracks filling the screen? Dammit, put some big sweaty beef on the show and tomorrow I’ll be first in line knocking down the doors at Sears for a high definition television and a massaging shower head! I’m sure the families that receive the home makeovers must be thrilled. In fact, it’s probably in the contract that they are legally bound to do the hysterical Price is Right “Oh my god … Oh My God … OH MY GOD!” scream every time they enter another room. Along with the provision that they burst into tears on cue when the designers reveal their “very special project,” which is usually coasters made from Grandma’s ashes, or a stainless steel range hood that looks like the Virgin Mary. My feeling is if you really want to help a struggling family, don’t give them a dishwasher, buy them health insurance. And how do you think the neighbors must feel living in their $50,000 doublewide when the assholes next door get a million-dollar mega crib? I know I’d be sending Fido over to crap on their freshlyinstalled sod, you betcha. Oh, and one more thought: Don’t think I’m forgetting you, Michael Moloney. That’s right, Miss Thing, we need to talk about the radioactively bleached veneers on those teeth of yours. Just how much did Envirocare have to shell out to place those on prime time? On a completely different subject, darlings, I must say I am APPALLED at the shameless behavior of the driver of a certain black Porsche Boxster convertible parked on the street outside Try-angles last Friday. Sweetie, unless your boner is simply astounding in length, girth, and symmetry (probably not if you’re overcompensating with THAT car) and the world needs to behold its magnificence, then do us all a favor and put the top up before you get a blowjob. If you can make the payments on the car (and the Botox and hair plugs) you can certainly afford $35 for a motel room. Ciao!
SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
If you really want to help a struggling family, don’t give them a dishwasher, buy them health insurance.
Ruby Ridge is a well-known Salt Lake entertainer who is often seen hosting wild fundraising events. Her opinions are her own and often fluctuate wildly depending on sentimentality, excess, and shameless product placement involving boners.
Lambda Lore Naughty Second South
AUGUST 18, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 13
by Ben Williams email@example.com Is it me, or was Salt Lake City hornier in the olden days? There were whorehouses and saloons all over the place. The majority of Salt Lake’s sex trade, before the building of the Stockades, was located on Blocks 70 and 57 in the heart of downtown. Before the mid-20th century development of those blocks, several streets and alleys crisscrossed them. Commercial Street, Franklin Street, Victoria Alley and Plum Alley have all been paved asunder, but just imagine the sexual energy amassed there. Commercial Street, now named Regent, was a rip-roaring bawdy thoroughfare that ran north-south through Block 70 between 100 and 200 South. Oriental Plum Alley ran just east of it, near Carl Jr’s parking lot. Franklin Street lay south of Commercial Street and the venereal Victoria Alley ran east-west from State Street to Main Street. All these streets, being on the interior of the blocks, allowed “disreputable” businesses to be “relatively less visible and obnoxious to passersby than they would have been on the outside streets of the block.” Houses of ill repute came to Utah with the U.S. army and the railroad. By 1872, the infamous Kate Flint and other prostitutes “joined the influx of miners and railroad men” and moved to Salt Lake City where she operated the first whorehouse on Commercial Street. It was so successful that later even Gustav Holmes, the respectable director of the National Bank of the Republic, owned a building that was used as a brothel at what is now 165 Regent Street. It still stands. Plum Alley was the center of Salt Lake City’s tiny, but “overwhelmingly male Chinatown.” Among all the saloons, laundry houses, and opium dens was the “Big V.” This brothel, located at 5 Plum Alley, had six bedrooms downstairs and ten upstairs to service Salt Lake’s randy clientele. In 1880, Kate Flint removed to Block 57, where a narrow northern street opened on 200 South Street. Here she operated another whorehouse at 44 East 200 South. This was the first brothel in Block 57, which is dominated today by the Gallivan Plaza. Victoria Alley ran east-west through Block 57 from State Street to Main. Only twelve feet wide at its State Street entrance, the alley allowed “discreet access to the brothels and dwellings in the interior.” On the north side of Victoria Alley were rooms called cribs while a house of ill fame operated on the south side at 7 Victoria Alley. This place was managed by Helen Blazes and operated less than ten feet from another brothel at 243 South Main run by Ida Wilson. Another important brothel, called the Three Deuces, stood some twenty-five feet northeast of Victoria Alley at 222 South State Street. Victoria Alley, like Plum Alley, was wide open to all type of “vice.” A police raid in 1907 on Victoria Alley found “morphine, cocaine and opium fiends, as well as inveterate drunkards” of both sexes. The Herald Republican newspaper even claimed the residents of the Victoria Alley cribs were
so degraded as to be unsexed: “Having the forms and faces of women, they have no other attributes of their sex.” The paper probably meant that crib workers “did not display gender-appropriate behavior” but could have also meant that houses employed transsexuals there. Many houses of ill fame also employed homosexual males who sometimes were passive partners for other men. Eureka, Utah was said to have an all male house of ill fame in the 1890s. In 1907, Edward Burke, an employee of the Bell Telephone Company, was arrested at 235 South State, charged with an “unspeakable crime.” He was arrested for having sex with a fifteen year-old runaway named Leon Young of Eureka, Utah. Young said he ran away from home because of some mistreatment by his stepfather and met Burke on Commercial Street. Burke, who was described as “a fine specimen of physical manhood,” invited Young for lunch and a show. After eating, Burke invited Young back to his room where they had sex. According to a newspaper account, Burke did not live at this rooming house but used it to “entice young boys” (teenagers). Burke was charged with “carnally (knowing) the said Leon Young, and then and there unlawfully, feloniously, wickedly, diabolically and against the order of nature with the said Leon Young did commit and perpetrate the detestable and abominable crime of Sodomy; Contrary to the provisions of the statute of the State … and against the peace and dignity of the State of Utah.” Whew! By 1908 the handwriting was on the wall for Salt Lake’s brothels when their workers were ordered to move west. The opening of the Stockades on west 200 South closed the whorehouses and cribs downtown. The Salt Lake City police ensured their removal west by reportedly taking down patrons’ names as well as fining the brothels. Any madam refusing to relocate was convicted in city court of keeping houses of ill fame. In effect this moral crusade gave Dora Topham a monopoly on prostitution in Salt Lake City. Newspapers even claimed that Topham directed the police to suppress the competitive downtown brothels. The Stockade itself closed in 1911 as the Salt Lake City “Betterment League” decided to clear the city of vice. When Brigham F. Grant, the half-brother of LDS President Heber J. Grant, became police chief of Salt Lake, he moved against all legitimate and illegitimate prostitution. Police officers visited whorehouses on State Street, Victoria Alley, Commercial Street, and elsewhere and told the madams they had thirty-six hours to shut down. Grant claimed his “particular hobby [was] to guard the young from disreputable and demoralizing influences.” Times were changing. By the 1920s, Salt Lake’s infamous madams London Belle, Kate Flint, Ida Wilson, and Helen Blazes and their fine brothels and bordellos were distant memories. These places were so opulent at one time that one was even called the Palace. My favorite, however, was the “Big V.” Wouldn’t it be great if some enterprising person opened a lesbian bar called the “Big V” after that notorious brothel at Number 5 Plum Alley? Or a dance club named “The Stockade” after Salt Lake City’s infamous red light district?
by Jeff Sullivan | Cover art by Kris Kramer
ethamphetamines are almost commonplace in the queer community, but they have been linked to serious and harmful sexual and relationship problems. Are methamphetamines keeping queers out of healthy relationships? In urban patois it’s euphemistically called crystal, product, glass tweak, hydro, pink champagne, amber, peanut butter, crank or just speed, among a variety of other names. Its use is epidemic, especially in large urban gay communities. “Get Help!” says the media, but it rarely offers specifics other than ads paid for by expensive treatment centers. We know there are 12-step programs available for a wide range of problems, but for rapidly-increasing numbers of addicts, the twelve steps alone are not enough. This is particularly true when dealing with crystal meth. “Methamphetamine seems to anesthetize the grownup part of us that takes care of business,” says Riley Smith, clinical director of Do It Now Foundation, a public outpatient facility in Los Angeles. “With alcohol and marijuana you are disinhibited, but with crystal meth you are disinhibited and have that incredible jolt of energy, albeit false energy. Many times after sobriety is achieved, it takes a long time to pull one’s sexual sensibility back to a sense of normalcy. After intensely destructive binges of nonstop drugs and sex that sometimes lasts for days, or even weeks, the idea of having sex with one partner for a normal period of time seems bland, and is often difficult to achieve.” Regardless of how it’s taken, methamphetamine (more so than any other drug) hits that group of subcortical structures in the brain that control emotion, motivation, and sexuality—known as the limbic system. Not unlike the food/light conditioning with Pavlov’s famous dog, when sex and methamphetamine are closely aligned over a period of time, they become virtually synonymous to the user. For users, when the drug is taken away, so is sexual function. “When someone ingests methamphetamine, it increases dopamine, and as a result, you get a rush, a sense of well being, a sense of power, a sense of excitement,” say Dr. Mel Pohl, a Las Vegas-area specialist in substance abuse problems. “Certainly sexual desire is enhanced in the early phases of methamphetamine use, but in the late stage—well, first of all you don’t perform, because men can’t get erections. Second of all, you sort of lose interest for a while. With chronic, repeated use on a regular basis, the dopamine that gives you that first rush is depleted, and you end up dysphoric. You don’t get any pleasure at all. You end up with an absence of pleasure. Sex, food, sleep, nothing matters, and people become very depressed and suicidal.” Much like a computer virus, one of the first things the drug does is to convince the computer, or the user, that nothing is wrong. “It’s an artificial production of ecstasy,” Pohl continues, “not the chemical or the drug, the feeling. At the same time it numbs other feelings, painful feelings. It flattens them out—those pass into the background. That’s one of the illusions of the drug, and a great motivation for taking it. But when the drug wears off, those feelings come back with a vengeance, and into a brain that’s depleted of dopamine—meaning, whatever was bothering those people, it will now feel worse. Depression has a biochemical basis. That’s what sets up binge usage. After a crash, users feel depressed, useless, and full of self-pity so intensely that they want to relieve that devastating feeling.” “It becomes the cue for them to have sex,” says Ron Lawrence, MFT and CEO of the Community Counseling Center in Las Vegas. “It leads to hyper-sexual behavior. Then we have to teach them counter-conditioning sexual behavior, and it starts out very slow. That’s one of
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lants. “[Methamphetamine] lets them be sexual, and it’s a very compelling argument for using it. I’m not judge and jury, but until someone can show me some conclusive evidence, I’m going to listen to my patients.” Meachell Cruz, a licensed addictive drug therapist formerly with the Ryan White Title One Foundation, believes that methamphetamines give people permission to be themselves. “Especially with gays,” she says. “They are ostracized and discriminated against in the workplace, in housing, in churches, in social organizations, and even in schools. I’m not advocating its use, I’m just saying that I understand the lure of being able to express one’s sexuality openly, like the rest of society. While under the influence, people are free to be their sexual selves.” “There’s another phenomenon that is unique to the gay community, and that is the person who has gotten into drugs before they’ve dealt with their sexual orientation,” adds Lawrence. “Also, middle-aged gay men sometimes use meth to offset a mid-life crisis, or just the fact of aging. There is a real grief process that goes along with aging, and some people refuse to get past that process—they refuse to get into a place of acceptance about the passing of certain ways of life.” “I think we, as a subculture, suffer from self-esteem issues, internalized shame and homophobia,” said
“I think we, as a subculture, suffer from self-esteem issues, internalized shame and homophobia.”
that is based on alcoholics or opiate users, it doesn’t work. I’ve heard horror stories from gay men who are stimulant users ... going to AA or other 12-step meetings and the people there being hostile to the kinds of things they are expressing.” Current scientific findings indicate that chronic use of stimulants directly affects immune system functioning, whether HIV-positive or not. It is a fact that users of stimulants often engage in sexual behaviors that carry multiple risks for HIV transmission. Due to that intimate link, these groups of drug users represent critical populations for treatment and prevention areas. While the specific steps of treatment for each addict will be unique, many agree that therapy is a needed and positive component. “CAT studies of the brain are now used in studies,” said Lawrence, “where, for instance, they’ve been able to discern that a recovering person who has psychotherapy does much better than the person who simply quits. Recovery is about a lot more than not using drugs.” Indeed, although there remains a great deal of debate about topics such as non-judgmental approaches to HIV prevention and the structure of effective support programs, there is little dissent about the need for counseling in addiction recovery. “It’s essential to many people in recovery, because once they become sober, the painful feelings they were numbing with the drugs come up,” said Smith of the Do It Now Foundation in L.A. “Therapy can heal the pain.” Whether learning or relearning how to be in an intimate relationship, struggling to find pleasure in sober sex, dealing with self-esteem and internalized homophobia, or coping with depression based on other factors, the experts agree that the important thing for getting and staying well and healthy is not using. A version of this article originally appeared in QVegas and is reprinted with permission.
Pohl. “I believe that puts one at risk of looking to escape or change reality. I think that’s a cultural predisposition we have. Gays are on the vanguard of whatever is new and exciting in mood change. There’s a whole historical perspective on why that is. There’s not a lot of data to support this, but it’s hard being gay. We’re not accepted, we’re not mainstream. We have discrimination of all sorts. We get violently assaulted on a regular basis, both physically and emotionally. Those things don’t cause addiction, but people in those circumstances get pushed in that direction.” “I do know that in the gay community we have very specific dealers,” said Lawrence. “I know because I’ve had some of them as patients. But since I’m not law enforcement, it isn’t my job. I’ve had an awful lot of confessions occur in my office—of people feeling sorry, once they’ve gone into recovery, about other people they’ve sold drugs to, or gotten into drugs. But we’re not here to judge, we’re here to help.” Recently, chapters of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) have cropped up around the country. Based on the AA model, CMA has modified its meetings somewhat to make attendees particularly aware of the indelible drug/sex connection. In fact, some CMA meetings are focused entirely on sober sex and relationships. “For gay addicts to go out and relapse because they just wanted to have sex, and not get the pejorative and negative reactions most people put them through in other 12-step meetings, is really important,” said Shoptaw. “To be able to say how good it felt because you fucked without using a condom, or got fucked without using a condom becomes a big deal … because it flies in the face of the prevention movement in the gay community.” Dr Richard Rawson, also of the Matrix Center in L.A., adds that “with stimulant users you have to give them a sense of framework, and information that is consistent with their experience. If you give them a bunch of stuff
CRYSTAL METH RESOURCES: CRYSTAL METH ANONYMOUS crystalmeth.org MONDAY, 7:00 to 8:00 pm 5056 S. 300 West, Murray City, UT WEDNESDAY, 6pm 9087 W. 2700 South, downstairs, Magna THURSDAY, 7pm Fellowship Hall, 2060 So. Windsor Ave. (840 E), 485-4451 ASL Interpreted SATURDAY, 2 pm 145 E. 1300 So. SLC SATURDAY, 7:30pm “Gay Sober”GLBT Community Center 355 N. 300 West SATURDAY, 8pm Layton Women’s Recovery Center. 2250 N. 1700 West Bldg. E Layton SUNDAY, 6 pm 9087 W. 2700 South, downstairs, Magna HARM REDUCTION PROJECT harmredux.org 155 S. 300 West, 355-0234 utahtweaker.com CORNERSTONE COUNSELING CENTER cornerstoneslc.com 359-3244
AUGUST 18, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 15
the frustrating parts of the recovery process. A lot of the men I work with are both meth addicts and sex addicts. We have to get them sober first, but what’s really lost in all this—this safari, so to speak, is the ability to be intimate.” In terms of socialization, researchers often write about the need in gay men for more acculturation on how to love. We mature emotionally through primary relationships, and gay people go through a kind of second adolescence in the coming out process, where they learn socialization all over again within the gay subculture. Many gays get stuck in this adolescence and focus their energies on drinking and drugs. They never progress emotionally beyond sex rituals and “sport fucking.” With meth users, their non-using relationships fall by the wayside, and sooner or later their whole social network is made up of other users. The drug becomes the glue that holds the relationships together—many times with lovers, as well. Because the drug initiates the feelings, it becomes impossible to have an emotionally honest relationship with an addict. One of the effects of the drug is to make emotions feel much more profound than they are. “That’s the big farce of this drug,” said Lawrence. “We mistake hyper-sexuality for intimacy. As a result, a lot of the men and women who come in for treatment have to discover intimacy for the first time.” Many therapists recommend that addicts who are getting clean don’t engage in emotional relationships for at least a year. The decision-making process in emotional relationships and emotional functioning can be affected for that long, or longer, after usage has stopped. “Emotional maturity is arrested at the point of usage,” adds Pohl. “Essentially, people’s ability to form relationships with themselves is not there, let alone relationships with other people. Hooking up with someone stimulates the same endorphin as usage, so it’s pretty tempting to move toward a relationship in order to ‘fix.’ It’s probably not the best thing to do, as a person is not ready to form a relationship in the early stages of recovery. It’s not uncommon to see somebody relapse over relationship issues. We recommend that people take time to do their work and establish healthy social relationships before getting into ‘the one.’” Once crystal meth is used, it sets up a kind of syndrome in the brain, a downward spiral where usage recurs with ever-increasing frequency. The parts of the brain where addiction happens beckon the user back again and again until it becomes part of that person, psychologically and physically. Relapse often begins days or weeks ahead of the actual deed. “I can confirm that spiral,” adds Lawrence. “Relapse is a chronic problem. The conditioning properties of meth, when combined with the environment—when there’s something that’s near you, or you’re in a certain geographical location, or with a certain friend—are very, very powerful. They have a powerful triggering quality. People in the throes of addiction will keep trying to recreate this feeling we call euphoric recall. They keep trying to re-experience what the first high was like. We take a non-punative view of this. What we try to do is process the relapse and understand what led to it.” “But are there people who are not addiction-prone, who can take methamphetamines occasionally and have a recreational experience?” asks Pohl. “I believe there are. Just like people who smoke a joint occasionally, or drink alcohol socially. But I’ve seen a lot of people get sucked into that cycle, thinking they can do it on a recreational basis. Once that cycle is established in the brain, there is no going back.” “I’ve led a number of community discussion groups where people come in and talk about their HIV, about having no energy, and how they don’t feel attractive or sexual,” said Dr. Steve Shoptaw of LA’s Matrix Center, a rehab facility that specializes in the treatment of stimu-
THE GAY AGENDA 18THURSDAY For those of you who simply can’t enough Romanticism, the Utah Symphony tonight will present a triple helping of Beethoven. The Claremont Trio, one of the hottest new classical ensembles today, will perform the alwaysastonishing 7th Symphony as well as the grand Triple Concerto and the Coriloan Overture. Wordsworth said that Romanticism was “a spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility.” I wouldn’t call Beethoven tranquil, but an overflow of emotion? Check. 7:30pm, St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Road, Park City. Tickets $20 at 355-2787 or arttix.org
Things in this world get more and more ugly every day, my friends, but one thing remains constant: the Dude abides. Join Spy Hop Productions, a film training program for local youth, tonight as they celebrate the one and only Jeff Lebowski with — what else? — a game or two of bowling in hopes of raising community awareness and support for the organization’s youth programs. Bring your own sarsaparilla! 7-11pm Bonwood Bowl, 2500 S. Main St. Tickets $50. Information at 801.532.7500
19FRIDAY By now you must have figured out that you see exactly the same people every single Friday night at the Trapp Door and Gossip. You are in a rut. You need a change of scene. I suggest you free your hips and take Free Salsa Lessons by “Drugaya Forma,” a salsa dance team led by the fabulous Eddie and Maria. Not only is the dancing hot, but so are the sweaty men!
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9-10pm, 3620 S State Street. Information at (801) 557-3648 or drugayaforma.com
20SATURDAY Thank God the Russians defeated Napoleon. Without them, we might never have been exposed to one of the most pernicious tunes-stuck-in-the-head of all time, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. If you’ve never heard it live, you must come hear the Utah Symphony’s reading tonight. They fire an actual cannon! A CANNON! Makes humming it under your breath for the next week almost worthwhile.
Mitchell albums, which is cool. Come see the most famous receding hairline of the sixties live and in person tonight. It’s always fun to have an excuse to get all misty at “Fire and Rain.” 7:30pm, Usana Ampitheatre, 5400 S. 6200 West, West Valley City. Tickets $26–91 at 467-TIXX or smithstix.com
Admit it, you own a pair of Speedos. Maybe you bought them 20 pounds ago, or maybe they were the only thing available on that last European vacation. Well, we’re not saying you must wear them to the Out-Rage-Ous party at Raging Waters today, part of Salt Lake Metro’s Hot August Weekend of gay day parties, but we promise not to make too much fun of you if you do. 12–7:30pm, Raging Waters, 1200 S. 1700 West. Tickets 2 for $20. Look for the Salt Lake Metro pavilion. slmetro.com/august.
21SUNDAY Back when Gay Days at the Magic Kingdom started in Orlando, it was the cause of major shock and outrage. Now, however, the Disney machine that runs our lives has recognized the value of embracing diversity and the ripple effect has had impacts across the country. Now, maybe wearing a red t-shirt when you attend Out at the Park today at Lagoon doesn’t seem like a big deal, but how else are the hotties going to know to hit on you in line for the carousel? Salt Lake Metro searched around for the best deal on admission and you’ll get the best price (2-for-1 tickets) by mentioning KUTV at the gate. 11am, Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington. Prices vary. See slmetro.com/august.
23TUESDAY Finally, someone in Salt Lake mounts a Gilbert and Sullivan show that isn’t The Mikado or HMS Pinafore! Only the British could produce the kind of delightfully absurd wordplay that is the hallmark of a G&S show. A lot of their work is underrated, which is why you must attend the relatively obscure The Gondoliers. It’s Gilbert and Sullivan on canals, people! Plus they rhyme words like “hypotenuse.” That’s worth the price of admission right there.
7:30pm, 2250 South Deer Valley Drive, Park City. Tickets $24 at 355-2787 or arttix.org
7:30pm through Saturday, Jeanne Wagner Theatre at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W Broadway. Tickets $17-$22 at 355-2787 or arttix.org
Personally, I think James Taylor’s voice is annoying, but he used to play on Joni
It seems to me that maybe Jack Johnson, in addition to being hot, can
write a really fantastic song. This is a fine combination of qualities for a person to possess. I don’t think I need to sell you any further than that, do I? 7pm, Usana Ampitheatre, 5400 South 6200 West, West Valley City. Tickets $20 and $35 at 467-TIXX or smithstix.com
24WEDNESDAY David Maestas, a favorite of Utah art lovers for his lovely images in pastels, is currently showing new acrylics on canvas. I would love to say more, but instead I’ll just mention that I don’t know much about visual art and the Metro is currently looking for new writers. If this is a niche you can fill, I’d be personally grateful to you for sparing me looking like a dolt in print. 12-7pm, Monday thru Friday; 12-7pm Saturday, 1261 West 100 South. Admission is free; information at 801-355-0206.
26FRIDAY Utah has more than its share of fantastic summertime traditions. The Sheakesperean Festival, the Arts Festival, Stadium of Fire … well maybe not so much with the Stadium of Fire. We’re extraordinarily lucky that one of these traditions is the Fidelity Investments Park City Jazz Festival, which this year has broadened its appeal, showcasing Grammy awardwinners (Bela Fleck, anyone?) along with blues, latin, smooth jazz and more spread across two stages. Not to mention the food! Not to mention the array of local vendors! Not to mention the fact that Park City has cooling mountain breezes and we have … well, right now it doesn’t seem like very much, does it? 4:30pm today, 2:30pm Saturday and Sunday, Deer Valley, 2250 South Deer Valley Drive, Park City. Tickets $45 at 355-2787 or arttix.org
Did you think that huge festival in June was Utah’s only gay pride event? Well, you were wrong. For the last three years, a small band of dedicated folks have produced the Southern Utah Pride at Zion down in Springdale. You really don’t know what you’ve been missing with this small-but-exciting weekend event. Today and tomorrow, Springdale Town Park, Springdale. Most events are free, info at www.technophiliax.com/pride.html.
8pm. Usana Ampitheatre, 5400 S. 6200 West, West Valley City. Tickets $27–62 at 467-TIXX or smithstix.com
28SUNDAY The war we are fighting in Iraq right now is as much about culture as it is about terror. Americans simply do not understand the Muslim world. Luckily, though, our Muslim neighbors are proud to share the richness and vitality of their culture
Noon-9pm, 210 E 400 S. Admission is free; information at sqaci.com/sam/
29MONDAY To me, if you don’t like swing music, you’re just dead inside. How can anyone with a soul resist the urge to jump jive and wail with that sound in the air? If you’re of a mind to agree, meet me tonight for the latest Salt Lake Ethnic Arts Jazz on the Square concert, featuring SwingNJive—hot and spunky swing, jive and bebop from the 40s and 50s, perfect for swing dancing and listening. 6:30-8pm, Trolley Square, West Plaza near Wells Fargo on 7th East (inside amphitheater in case of rain). Information at 5487404 or jazzscope.com.
Help! The Metro staffers are too busy and poor to attend the annual Burning Man Project that begins today in the Nevada desert. If someone with extra tickets and transportation were to kidnap and take us, we’d be happy to apply your body paint all week long! Today through September 5, Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Ticket prices vary, for details visit burningman.com.
Center To Host Sixth Annual Golf Classic by Russ Moss firstname.lastname@example.org Summer is nearing an end, and that includes putting away our summer pastimes. Don’t put away your golf clubs just yet, though. The sixth annual Center Golf Classic is coming soon. This year the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah and the Golf Committee have organized more than just a game of golf. The Pre-Classic Party will be held at the Trapp Door patio (the Trapp Door is a private club for members). All community members are welcome to this portion of the weekend, not just golfers. The cost is $10, and all proceeds go to The Center. A seafood buffet will be sponsored by GASTRONOMY, Inc. There will be dancing and prizes galore. Jennifer Nuttall, Director of Adult Programs, explained that the “purpose of doing this is to raise funds for the programs & services of the Center.” A great party, raising money for the Center, and I don’t even need a golf club. This is the second year that Nuttall is responsible for the Golf Classic. Last year they “raised over $20,000 for The Center,” according to Nuttall. “The goal this year is $30,000.” The day will begin with breakfast from 7-8am. At 8:30 the classic begins with a shotgun start. Prizes will be awarded for the team with the most creative golf attire. There will be additional games and prizes
Flag Football League to Head to Super Bowl in San Diego by Brendan Shumway email@example.com When Gordon Wilkins came up with an idea to start a regional football league that would be inclusive of gay players, no one could have guessed the great success of a gay football league in Salt Lake City. With over 60 players signed up, and about 45 active participants, the three-month-old Mountain West Flag Football League has enough players to structure a roster that’s four teams strong. Though Wilkins and league partner Brent White initially had some troubles in rounding up enough people interested in playing flag football, a booth at Pride more than helped to increase interest and create the strong roster. “I wanted to do something for the community,” says Wilkins, a lifelong fan of athletics and a former high school football player. “I felt strongly about football, and wanted to create something where people could play, come and have fun and feel good about it.” The teams, Ice, Butch, Rainbow Mountain Warriors and the Fierce Menz, include players ranging from those with no experience to those who have played at a high school or college level, and are supervised by four captains who have formed the teams to ensure an equality of strengths
and abilities. Teams hold practices and games on a weekly basis, with the four teams playing each other from a coordinated schedule that allows for the teams to play each other an equal amount. Though Wilkins was surprised by the number of people interested in joining a flag football league, managers from leagues in much larger cities have also been amazed that Mountain West was able to sign enough players to complete four full teams, especially given the short span of time the league has been around. Even more impressive is the fact that the teams of Mountain West have been invited to play in the Gay Flag Football Super Bowl this year, a yearly event sponsored by OutSports.com. For the event, which will be held October 7-9 in San Diego, Wilkins would like to send an All Star team of players to compete against the fourteen other leagues that will be competing in the games, and hopefully create enough notice to bid hosting the games in 2007. “There are a lot of really great athletes in Salt Lake City,” he said. “Leagues around the country have been surprised at the turnout we have had, and we would really like to have our team there to represent Salt Lake.”
on various holes. The Center plans to use every slot this year. The maximum number of golfers will be 144. Last year they had 120 play. Registration will most likely fill up quickly, so take care of it early. The Golf Classic also includes a fajita buffet for lunch, a golf cart, as well as a “ditty bag,” and prize drawings at lunch. The Center has definitely increased the prizes this year, with items valued at over $2000 for this fundraiser alone. Golfers will be competing in teams of four, a “scramble format” will help match less experienced golfers so you can have some fun, but still compete. Teams of four are also welcome to register together. The Golf Committee that put this all together was chaired by Michelle Turpin, who described the Golf Classic as “the biggest fundraiser event for the Center” all year. Turpin also wanted to “recognize the Golf Committee and the donors” for all they have done to make this event so successful. The Pre-Party is September 10th, and the Golf Classic is September 11. It will be held at the Stonebridge Golf Club 4415 West Links Drive, West Valley City. Registration is $85 per person before August 31st, and $100 after that. Registration forms are available at The Center, or download them at www.glbtccu.org. Contact Jennifer Nuttall at 801-539-8800 extension 13. Credit cards are welcome!
While local companies such as Equality Utah, Rainbow Mountain Realty, Wells Fargo and Utah Contemporary Theatre have jumped on board to provide sponsorship for the league, Wilkins has also planned a fundraiser to assist with the cost of sending a team to the Bowl event, the MWFFL First Annual Tailgate Party and Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, August 20th at 7:30 pm. For a donation of $25, those who attend will be provided with dinner and two beers, and events of the fundraiser will include a DJ spinning live music, a raffle, live auction, and two drink bars serving beer, wine and mixed drinks. Items given out in the raffle will include services such as haircuts and massages, all donated by local companies. The main event of the evening will be the live auction, where attendees can bid on items such as dinner dates with players on the team, a beer tasting tour for up to fifteen people at Uinta Beers, tennis and golf packages, a session with a professional photographer, and the flagship bidding item, a trip for two to San Diego during the weekend of the Bowl, which will include hotel reservations and tickets to the games. Tickets for the fundraising event can be purchased ahead of time from any of the players or at any of the MWFFL team games, which are held Thursday nights at Riverside Park in Salt Lake City or at the door the night of the event. MWFFL can be found online at mwff.org.
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Isn’t is incredible that Crosby Stills and Nash have been around since … well, “liberal” was still a good thing? The band is one of the most accomplished in music, though all that comes to mind for me is that David Crosby fathered Melissa Etheridge’s children. It’s just that I’ve always found that both incredibly freaky and incredibly cool. Anyway, they’re in town.
with us—and after all, education has consistently proven to be more powerful than any weapon. So come down to Library Square tonight to celebrate the last night of the Salt Lake American Muslim Cultural Festival. Wonderful entertainment, food, and merchandise for the whole family. The festival celebrates the American ideals of inclusion of multiethnic diversity, mutual understanding and tolerance.
EarPiece “Heights”— Hey, I Know That Guy! by Eric J. Tierney firstname.lastname@example.org
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Since I went to acting school, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise when every now and again someone I know or worked with turns up in a movie. Nonetheless, when the occasional name or face appears on the screen, my stomach gives the same kind of irksome jerk you experience when you miss a stair. A movie isn’t real, which in part is the reason we go to movies, so when I recognize someone from the real world, the experience is somehow compromised—reality has invaded the imaginary world. Also, I always wonder how the bastard got the job and I’m still here in Salt Lake waiting tables. I bring this up because it happened to me recently. I had been looking forward to seeing a little film called Heights because it’s exactly the type of ensemble character drama that I love. Also, I’d heard that James Marsden and Jesse Bradford made out in it. It’s ten minutes into the film, I’m enjoying myself immensely, and all of a sudden I’m looking at Matt Davis, who was a year ahead of me in school and left early to go to LA. Clearly, this had been the right move. You’ve seen Matt in other movies. His big break came when he was given the unique challenge of playing twins in Urban Legend, Final Cut. He had a small role in Pearl Harbor and was the reason Reese Witherspoon went to Harvard in Legally Blonde. He’s also been in some good movies, like Tigerland. He’s one of the lucky few who make the move to LA and are instantly discovered as great new talent, which was due in no small part, I’m sure, to the fact that he’s rather astonishingly good looking. What makes a difference in Matt’s case is that he backs his looks up with ability. That bastard. He’s lucky to be in such a terrific
movie. Heights is on par with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf as a vivisection of human relationships. A lot of movies tackle this subject, but most do it glibly or without insight. Most flounder in the face of the complexity of human interaction and are made up of a litany of clichés and easy answers. Heights, on the other hand, is the genuine article. Most movies of this type fail in that they don’t grasp how simple real life tends to be. Consider Closer. The big discoveries and revelations in that movie—infidelity, betrayal—are played as “moments,” with each character making a big speech full of maudlin displays of emotion. Heights understands that in the real world when things fall apart, it usually happens quietly and relatively calmly, with no screaming or throwing things. Relationships are born and die in conversational tones and people don’t speak like characters in Arthur Miller plays. By getting around the theatrics the film is able to delve into what really happens between people behind closed doors, what meaning relationships really have, how we live and die by them. The film, in other words, respects its subject. And yes, James Marsden and Jesse Bradford do in fact kiss. The fact that this is only one among many highlights should indicate just how good the thing is. Glenn Close is in it, too, and God knows she doesn’t work enough these days. Looking forty years old in pencil skirts and long, shiny brown hair, Close turns in one of the best performances of her career—if it’s true that the mark of a great film actor is the ability to make you forget you’ve ever—seen them before, then subtlety, grace, detail and the remarkable depth of her give it the quality of a debut. Matt’s got a few movies coming out this year, including one rather unfortunate-looking story about a “dhampir” (half-human, half-vampire), but with any luck I’ll get to see him in more films as good as Heights. Of course, with any luck, people will make more films as good as Heights.
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SALT LAKE METRO ■ AUGUST18, 2005
by Vanessa Chang email@example.com 18 W. Market Street, Salt Lake City | 519-9595 Mon.–Fri. 11:30am–3:00pm; 5:30pm–9:30pm Saturday 5:30–9:30pm After about the third round of omakase, things started to get loud. A couple wearing quizzical looks took the last two seats at the sushi bar. The trio to our left was deep in conversation about real estate (and their second bottle of sake). And the loud murmur of occupied tables echoed off the walls. The music didn’t drown out conversation. Rather, it punctuated every consonant and shrill of laughter. It was getting raucous. But you’d never know it looking on the other side of the sushi bar at Takashi. Just beyond the glass cases holding brilliantly-colored fresh filets stood four guys. Each flanked a certain section of the bar. In front of them, order tapes grew in number and flapped like prayer flags. Blades sharp enough to take off limbs deftly and delicately sliced through hamachi, snapper and clam. Tender ribbons gently placed atop mirin-spiked rice. From time to time, one of the younger fellows would walk briskly over to the owner, Takashi Gibo, who worked the center portion of the bar. The younger guy would whisper a question and Gibo would respond with instructions, never taking his eyes off a morsel of nigiri, never stopping his hands from plating the next order. He was our sushi chef for the night. And by the looks of the order tapes, he was the sushi chef for just about every table on the floor, too. There’s currently enough cachet in sushi that “going out for sushi” has some coolquotient attached. Which means an abundance of sushi bars, most average, and some not very good. On top of that, there’s this dangerous tendency to dress up restaurants like the set of Karate Kid II to give folks an “authentic” experience. Luckily, there’s more integrity at Takashi. This place doesn’t aim to evoke some old-world rice-paper notion of Japanese nostalgia. The immense metal fish sculpture that hangs over the sushi bar is a testament to the modern take on sushi dining that’s more Tokyo-cool harajuku than Edo-classic haiku. The industrial color palette fills open spaces. Repetitive techno beats that are
more salon than restaurant aurally carry the visual palette of industrial slate greys and shiny metallics. It’s a place where you find California ex-pats and local sushi converts. You might even run into your hair stylist sporting the faux-hawk and mirrored aviator shades. In short, it’s really cool. And some think almost too cool. I’ve heard various complaints about the atmosphere. The ultra-posh patina turns off some folks who find it pretentious. Or they say the pretty veneer glosses over the slow, spotty, and sometimes downright-snobby table service. But despite these jabs, you’ll never hear anyone complain about the food. Alone, fish and rice are humble things. But together in the skilled hands of Takashi and crew, they are sublime. Nigiri and sashimi are alarmingly fresh. It’s a bit cliché, but I’ll state it here: fish should not smell fishy. It should smell like the sea. Sweet, kind of briny, the flavor is almost primordial. Paired with the soft rice and just a kiss of wasabi, these lozenges melt in your mouth. Remember your favorites. There’s a dusky pink New Zealand salmon that’s silky and reveals a smooth flavor reminiscent of cloves. And the scorched black cod (or sablefish) falls somewhere between raw and cooked—once formed, the ivory filets are barely scorched with a blowtorch, bringing out the natural oils in the fish. It’s not cooked, but it becomes unctuous and succulent; you want the sweet flavor to last. There’s a whole roster of creative rolls that cater to tyros (California roll) and the more adventurous (mermaid roll—fresh scallops, yellowfin tuna, and shiso leaf ). In response to negative remarks about the table service, my advice is this: If you want sushi, sit at the sushi bar, nowhere else. Tables are fine for cooked entrées like a tender akazura beef tower with green beans. But grab a seat and trust your sushi chef. Omakase is the best way to savor the menu. Literally meaning “entrusting,” your chef will dish up the freshest and best items off the menu, after a bit of consulting (Roll or nigiri? How crazy do you want to go?). You’ll try new things. Revisit old favorites. And after the last round, that sip of green tea and sake tastes even better. You might even find that the music isn’t so bad. Even that big metal fish is growing on you. And, for once, you think it’s okay to follow the crowd.
Red,White Bubbly Terroir Blues by Beau Jarvis firstname.lastname@example.org Ter·roir (têr’-wa) n. The characteristic aromas and flavors of wine from grapes grown in a particular vineyard or area. Soil, climate, and vine contribute to create a wine’s unique style.
Ter·roir (têr’-wa) n. The characteristic aromas and flavors of wine from grapes grown in a particular vineyard or area and vinified in a certain manner. Soil, climate, vine, and vintner contribute to create a wine’s unique style. To illustrate my updated definition of terroir, I present Kalin Cellars Semillon, 1995 ($30) from California’s Livermore Valley. At 96,000 acres, the Livermore Valley AVA is a large wine-producing region. However, it is unique among northern California AVAs in that it is situated east-west rather than north-south. Of course, I doubt this is enough to produce unique terroir-ful wine. Enter soil and vines. The grapes that produce this wine are from a single vineyard: the Wente estate vineyard. This vineyard’s soil is thin, iron-rich clay over gravel subsoil. So what? Such soil is considered poor by agricultural standards. However, it restrains the Semillon vines and keeps them from over-producing listless, watery grapes. And speaking of vines, these Semillon grapes are the progeny of French vine cuttings brought to California in the 1880s. The vine source is none other than the world famous Chateau d’Yquem (producers of wines that command several hundred dollars per bottle). Finally, the vintner, Kalin Cellars, encourages wine to express itself. To my knowledge, Kalin is the only California winemaker that takes the credo “We sell no wine before its time” to the extreme. It ages wine from three to ten (yes, 10) years before releasing it. Kalin’s 1995 Semillon is the current release of this wine. This results in an otherworldly wine that nearly defies description. Kalin Semillon offers scents of caramel and tomato(!). Then, after twenty minutes or so in the glass, it conjures up scents of butter, chalk, banana, butterscotch, and toffee. Take a sip. There are zero fruity flavors. The flavor can only be described as earthy and funky. It begins as a seemingly delicate wine on the tongue, only to kick back with gusto for a tangy, caramely, lonnnng finish. This, my friends, is a terroir-driven wine. Cough up the thirty bucks and experience something I never knew a USA AVA could produce. Cheers.
TC–TRAVELERS CHECKS, AE–
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Open late nights on Fridays and Saturdays with DJs and a special menu.
32 beers, including Utah’s best selection of microbrews.
Beau Jarvis is a sommelier and wine educator. He operates basicjuice.com, an independent wine review and information website. He also manages basicjuice.blogs.com, a weblog of entertainment and culture.
AUGUST 18, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 21
Terroir is a French word with no English counterpart. The closest translation I can come up with is: “character of place.” On your bottle of European wine, this concept is communicated through terms such as Appellation/AOC (France), Denaminazione/ DOC/DOCG (Italy), Denominación/DO/ DOCa (Spain), or Qualitätswein/QMP (Germany). For example, a wine labeled “Champagne Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” is grown in a delineated area (~80 miles east of Paris), made only from certain grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier), and vinified in a specific manner (the Champagne method). This is real Champagne. So you drink mostly California wine? You too can experience Terroir. In California, as well as other parts of the U.S., character of place is captured through American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Take the fabled Rutherford dust of Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon lovers often swear by the unique Cabs produced inside Rutherford’s 6,600 acres. In theory an AVA tells the consumer that a particular wine is from a region with a unique suite of soil, climate, and vines. In practice, this doesn’t always work. What about a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma? This AVA is approximately 100,000 acres in size. Many Sonoma wine experts will tell you that a wine labeled as Russian River Valley doesn’t provide any clues as to what to expect inside the bottle. It’s simply a marketing tool that helps raise the wine’s price by a few bucks. The AVA designation really only specifies the geographic region of wine production. It doesn’t speak to what grapes are used or how wine is made. Exhibit “A” is this country’s latest AVA, “Horse Heaven Hills,” of Washington State. It chimes in at 570,000 acres. Egad! For the average consumer, an AVA designation simply adds one more layer of confusion to the alreadyconfusing-enough world of wine. But wait; there’s more. We new world folk aren’t the only ones guilty of perverting the concept of terroir. Suppose you discover an Italian wine labeled, “DOC Langhe.” You learn that Langhe is in the same neighborhood as Italy’s classic wines Barolo and Barbaresco. At thirty dollars, it’s a bargain next to one-hundred-dollar bottles of Barolo. However, upon further review, the DOC Langhe designation is just as unhelpful as a Merlot labeled “Horse Heaven Hills.” It doesn’t mean anything. Red wines from Langhe can be practically any combination of grapes, made in any manner. In fact, I recently tasted a Langhe-designated vino, and it may as well have been from anyplace in Napa, Washington, or Italy. It was simply a big, bold red wine. Good, but no terroir. What does this all mean? Should those of us with romantic notions of terroir become fatalists and subsist on generic bottles of “red” and “white” wine? Terroir is out there, you just have to look for it (and adjusting the definition of terroir may also help). Start-
ing now, my definition of wine terroir reads thusly:
Di ing Guide Dining de
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