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Volume 10 Issue 17 Aug. 16-29, 2019

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Remington Scott Kienbusch and the ever-evolving Mariam T


Plan for 30th Street bike lane fuels fears, hopes

Albert H. Fulcher | Editor

Remembering Jess Jessop


Comedy, production and drag

Jillian Bell to play more LGBTQ roles



Mariam T (Remington Scott Kienbusch) celebrates her one-year anniversary of Mariam’s Tea Party in September, held monthly at Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill. (Photo by Albert H. Fulcher)

‘First Spouse’

A taste of the Middle East



An openly gay president, the subject of local author’s work of fiction Albert H. Fulcher | Editor

‘Werq the World’ coming to San Diego

Index 6

Opinion Calendar






Contact us Editorial/Letters 619-961-1960



San Diego Community News Network

With an openly gay married man currently running for president it brings the question of what his husband might be called if he were elected. This is not the first time this question has arisen. The same happened when there was the possibility of President Bill Clinton serving in the White House as the spouse of Hillary Clinton. Local author JR Strayve Jr. realized while this was in discussion and many names titles surfaced throughout the discussion, but First Spouse is the one that stuck with him and he wondered, what if the couple were both men? So he began writing. After Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate) announced that he was going to do his exploratory committee for president, Strayve knew that his book needed to be finished. He published his new

fiction novel “First Spouse of the United States: Star Athlete & War Hero Battles Societal Boundaries and Washington Elite” three weeks before Buttigieg declared his candidacy for president. At a book signing at Comickaze Comics Books and

Remington Scott Kienbusch’s Mariam T has a signature look that cannot be mistaken. With Mariam’s Tea Party, held monthly at Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill, this September mark’s the firstyear anniversary of the Tea Party, now nearly sold out for every performance. These themed shows are filled with things that Kienbusch loves. First, being a stand-up comedian, second, his passion of producing, and third, his art of drag. Although the rise of Mariam T has accelerated at a rapid pace, Kienbusch said that with Mariam’s Tea Party, he (and she) are exactly where they should be and is excited as prospects grow as quickly as the Tea Party.

see Mariam T, pg 3 More at Liberty StationBarracks 15 on Aug. 2, Strayve provided some more insight on his latest creation. “First of all, the book is fiction,” Strayve said. “People ask me if that is happening now and I say, ‘maybe.’” The novel starts with Rocky, the protagonist, and is set in the mid-80s. He is a football player in high school, a very good student, and his name is Ricardo Chambers.

see First Spouse, pg 15

“First Spouse of the United States” author JR Strayve Jr. (Courtesy photo)

North Park residents rally to save parking on 30th Street. City Council District 3 candidate Stephen Whitburn is in the back talking to people. He remains undecided on the issue (Photos courtesy SoNo Neighborhood Alliance)

By Kendra Sitton | Uptown News Businesses and residents opposed to taking out parking on 30th Street in order to install a bike lane officially filed a legal challenge to the plan on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Save 30th Street Parking claims the City of San Diego did not do proper outreach ahead of the decision, a requirement under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Land use attorney Craig Sherman filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group, which formed earlier this summer in the wake of the decision. On May 16, Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered the implementation of Option A on 30th Street, which eliminates 420 parking spaces in favor of a two-mile fully protected bike lane from Howard to Juniper streets. Over two months later, he has yet to revise this decision even as many people in North Park mobilize to preserve parking, including Councilmember Chris Ward, who issued a memo in July saying he supported Option B from Howard to Upas streets — a compromise which would have saved half the parking spaces in the business district. In the wake of the Faulconer’s decision to add a protected bike lane with the support of North Park Community Planning Group after a vote on May 14, residents and business owners have pushed against the proposed plan. Save 30th Street Parking organized a rally, a petition has garnered more than 2,000 signatures, and several businesses put up signs decrying the change.

see Bike Lanes, pg 2



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019


BIKE LANES Another rally is being held this Saturday outside of St. Patrick’s school and church. Pat Sexton, who has led the group, claimed the bike lane will not be safer than sharing the lane with cars, which is the current system, because there will be so many breaks in the lane for driveways and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant parking spots. “Between the driveways that will have no protected bike lanes and the blue-curbed areas that will have no protected bike lane, there’s going

to be a lot of stops on 30th Street and the bicycle riders are going to have to ride in the traffic lane,” Sexton said. Despite this, Matt Stucky, who is a member of the North Park Community Planning Group, sees the bike lane as an improvement. “I think it definitely is still safer than the current condition. It’s not ideal obviously with where it’s going to be broken up with driveways and all that. But I think it’s an improvement over what the current conditions are — just the sharrows, no bike lanes,” he said in a phone interview. Stucky helped kick off the process of adding the bike lane over all of 30th Street by asking the city about adding a bike lane on the bridge

over Switzer Canyon where street parking spaces often go unused. It is this request that has spurred some of the pushback around the approval process of the bike lane. “We are not against bike lanes per se. We are against the removal of all parking,” Vernita Gutierrez, of SoNo Neighborhood Alliance, said over the phone. “It really benefits a small portion of the people who actually live and work and have businesses in that area. I think the other big issue for us was that there seemed to be a lack of transparency during the whole process.” North Park Main Street, which represents local businesses, has distinguished itself from people that want

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Follow us on: © 2019 San Diego Gas & Electric Company. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. no bike lane or any parking loss. While Option A eliminated all parking to make way for the bike lane, Option B from Howard to Upas streets would have made a floating parking lane to act as a barrier between moving cars and bicycles. “North Park Main Street voted for Option B for the northern segment of the plan — Upas to Howard — because improved mobility is a top priority for our organization. We have concerns about the magnitude of the impact that Option A will have on our businesses. Option B is a middle ground and allows for cars and bikes to coexist safely by providing on-street parking and a protected pathway for bikes. This design is being implemented in other areas of San Diego and we are encouraging the city to implement it in North Park as well,” North Park Main Street Executive Director Angela Landsberg said in an email to Uptown News. Floating parking, which provides a barrier between moving cars and bikes, was recently installed on Sixth Avenue and Beech Street in Downtown San Diego. Landsberg is working with the city to find a solution that will not harm businesses or residents. However, bike activists worry 30th Street is simply too narrow for that method to actually ensure safety for cyclists. Each of the lanes would need to be at the city’s minimum standard of width if Option B was used. Despite the loud pushback, many of the original proponents of the bike lane still have unwavering support for the plan to bring more travel options to the area. They have approached business owners to discuss the bike lanes and urge them to take down the negative signs. In addition, they organized a “Safe Streets for All Family Ride” on Sunday, Aug. 4 to call for the implementation of the bike lanes. “We’re starting to see some really positive benefits from J Street, and I think Sixth Avenue will [be] the same. It’s also about safer streets for everyone. It’s really about completing the streets and making streets more complete for people who bike, walk and run. There’s real benefits in having multiple safe modes,” said Andy Hanshaw, San Diego Bike Coalition’s executive director in a phone interview. He said every study he has seen showed positive benefits in adding bike lanes to business districts. John Pani, the owner of Waypoint Public, is in support of the fully protected bike lanes. “As a business owner on 30th Street, I would say that it’s not without risk to take away parking. There’s evidence of places where biking has been made a part of the landscape and there has been positive benefits to businesses and communities and so forth. It might seem like just taking a bunch of parking spaces away could be a negative, but there’s some decent evidence

out there that the impact won’t be as scary or detrimental as one might think,” he said in a phone interview. For Pani and Stucky, North Park is already a quickly changing place and if the city does not proactively adapt, then those changes will be for the worse as more density is added and businesses bring in larger crowds from across San Diego. “I wouldn’t say that because it’s harder to park today than it was 10 years ago, I wouldn’t want what’s happened in Kensington or North Park to happen, in terms of the growth. I just think it needs to happen in a smarter way. I think that adding in the bike lanes is potentially a step in that direction,” Pani, a Kensington resident, said. For those opposed to the bike lane, many of them longtime residents, another city intervention is eroding the landscape they have known for years. “Parking is already very challenging,” Gutierrez said. “I understand that the younger crowd, that live in the new apartments … can walk to the bars and stuff, but the basic people that live in North Park have bought homes and lived here for decades. Those people — their optometrist is on 30th, their dentist is on 30th. They’re used to 30th Street the way it is. They’re comfortable with 30th Street. What will keep them from shopping and going to appointments on 30th Street is lack of parking,” Sexton said. Gutierrez fears added density and removal of parking minimums in new developments will make it worse. Stucky agrees, although he sees a different solution. “I don’t think if there’s going to be a whole bunch of more density and housing going in on 30th Street, it’s going to work for everyone to drive in their car and be guaranteed a free parking spot on 30th. So we need to start thinking about if this density’s coming in, which everything suggests that it is, how can we still get around? Bikes are part of it, pedestrian walking is part of it, transit is part of it, but you know,” he said. “We need to do something new or else it’s going to change for the worst.” Much of the conflict surrounding the two-mile stretch of protected bike lane is embroiled in the very story of North Park: after a downturn in the 1980s, it is now one of the most booming business districts in San Diego. For many benefiting from the increased pull to the neighborhood, bike lanes threaten to upend a status quo they are benefiting from. Some fear that those bike lanes will hurt business and send North Park back to the way it was 30 years ago. Others see bike lanes as a way for the trajectory of growth to continue as more people using different modes of transportation access the booming area. – Kendra Sitton can be reached at kendra@sdnews. com. Uptown News is a publication of San Diego Community Newspaper Group.


GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019


MARIAM T “I definitely have a signature with Mariam. She’s big hair, big color, big print clothes,” Kienbusch said. “She’s like this extension of who I am. She’s a bit much for me to handle every day, but she’s there. To me, Mariam is almost like a real person. Mariam is a culmination of things that Remington doesn’t incorporate into his everyday life.” Kienbusch said that on any given day, you will see him wearing some kind of short shorts, a cartoon t-shirt, glasses and a hat, and that’s it. That’s what you get. “I’m simple, “ he said. “You’ll catch me jamming out to Stevie Nicks and having my own time and having my coffee. And Mariam is a psycho. All over the place and massive amounts of energy. It’s like the duality of me.” Even though Mariam T is signature in her look, the comedian and artist is continuously pushing Mariam T to progress and show the many facets of Remington’s standup comedy, production and drag. “I’m learning to break out of that box,” Kienbusch said. “Sometimes Mariam is played by male characters. Doing a scene from the ‘Goonies’ was really fun for me because I came out of that Mariam box I had created. I got to incorporate some male body positivity. I just let my big, fat furry body hang out. And I also got to perform with no undergarments, padding, heels or tights and that was really great. Performing in tennis shoes, no tights, no couch cushion strapped to my body, that’s great! So, it’s been really fun.” Kienbusch said a quote by RuPaul that he really likes is, “I’m just an introvert parading around as an extrovert.” “I think that a lot of performers in general, feel that way,” he said. “Remington is bubbly and personable, but Remington gets exhausted easily. I wear out very quickly whereas Mariam just never stops. She’s like a battery pack. She’s a pick me up, or like a drug, I guess. But it gets you through it. And there’s a crash that comes with it too. ‘Paris is Burning’s’ Dorian Corey talked about drag being a high, an addictive high, but it won’t hurt you unless you let it. It’s similar. There’s a high and a crash that comes with being Mariam.” Kienbusch said he has struggled with drag, which is still something that he deals with today. “I don’t consider myself a drag queen first. I consider myself a comedian first, a producer second, and a drag queen third.” He said. “I am very much a producer and the Tea Party has kind of been my saving grace because I get to funnel my energy into the production and creation of it. I am happy.” He said the struggle comes from working with incredible drag queens who are drags to the core. They sew everything

With rarely a repeat performance, Mariam T brings back “Hocus Pocus’” Winnie Sanderson for its Dumber than Disney theme in January. (Photo by Albert H. Fulcher)

that they make, they do their own hair and are constantly looking at and creating new fashions. “The wheelhouse in my brain works a little bit differently. I was struggling because I had this urge to do drag, but really didn’t see where I was going to fit in,” Kienbusch said. “I’m not a nightclub girl. Nightclubs give me crazy anxiety. One of the reasons it took me so long to do drag as a job or career path because I thought there was no space for my drag. I realized, that of course there was, but there was nobody doing it.” He had his group, or his “favorite girls” and reached out to all of them. They are the core cast for my Tea Party. Mariam calls them her Teacups, the original cast. These are the performers that Kienbusch anchors his shows with first. Glitz Glam, Evelyn Rose, Keex Rose, BB Gunn, and Michelada. He then pulls performers from San Diego and beyond to produce the shows. “Those girls, to me, all represented five very unique styles of drag. Each one of those girls have their own following, have their own niche in what they do and what they are known for,” Kienbusch said. “What if I take each of these girls’ style and then challenge them to do what they do best but make it funny? In turn, I realized that I could learn to take funny and incorporate their styles.” And this combination has been a winning one for Mariam’s Tea Party, which just recently acquired a major corporate sponsor with Skrewball Whiskey, a local company that is making its mark with its peanut buttery sweet smoothness. “My partnership with Skrewball Whiskey (Peanut Butter Whiskey) helps financially,” Kienbusch said. “Each Tea Party takes me about 40 hours to produce. Now, having a corporate partnership I am able to pull back a little bit and focus on other things. It’s financially rewarding, but also having the support of a company stands for the same thing that the Tea Party stands for. It’s called Skrewball and there are a lot of screwballs there, I know them. My friend Scotty Cottrell is one of the partners, and his title is national brand

ambassador, but you can also call him the ‘Prince Pauper of Peanut Butter.’ They are goofy, fun and a great group of screwballs. I’m the first artist that they sponsored. It is a local brand that is going national, they are in 26 states now and will be in all 50 by Oct. 1.” “It’s really great having something local supporting something local,” Kienbusch continued. “It took it a couple of months to put it all together, but I had a bunch of the corporate Skrewball reps at a table at the ‘Broken Blockbusters’ Tea Party and they were really happy with it. It’s a cool experience having this partnership. It is the only night at Mo’s that you can get a Skrewball Peanut

Butter French Macaroon (courtesy of pastry chef Christian Molly), and Skrewball really wanted a menu item. And while you can order the Mariam T cocktails any night of the week, that is the only night that they are really advertised. It’s a sweet shot.” As a producer, Kienbusch produces 75% of the songs and videos and backgrounds. Some of the girls bring in ideas with new songs, video clips and want to perform it. Kienbusch said he takes their ideas, puts his little spin on it and makes it for them. Next in line is Mariam’s Tea Party shirts. “All the staff at Mo’s will be in Tea Party shirts, so we are just going to continue theming it,” he said. “That’s my next goal is to theme and brand more. September will be a year of doing Tea Party’s which is crazy. We sell out nearly every month which is so nice to have that support in the community.” If you’ve been to the Tea Party, it’s a high caliber production. Kienbusch reached out to Glitz Glam with his ideas. He was adamant that he wanted it to be a comedy cabaret show with drag, burlesque, standup and improve acting and more. When he started doing standup in drag as Mariam he would just go out and network. He met Glitz Glam at Mo’s Pride 2017, just shortly after he had done his first performance as Mariam at Lips. “She and I were instantly attracted to one another,” Kienbusch said. “All night we just kept running into each





other and chit chatting. It was kind of like a little love affair that night. After Pride, I reached out to her because I had started producing standup comedy shows at a coffee shop in North Park. I was looking for anywhere to get started. We’re not making any money, but it was great. We were packing out the coffee shop. I sent Glitz a message on Facebook and told him I was doing a stand-up show at a coffee shop and wanted her to come and see what I do, because what I do is a little bit different. Her and her husband came, she loved what I did, and she told me to keep in touch with her. I messaged her a few days later and asked if Mo’s was interested in a standup comedy night, let me know and I would be happy to produce it. She said, ‘Absolutely.’” It didn’t happen then, but later, he contacted Glitz again, specifically with the Tea Party in mind. “Glitz told me, ‘You are the funniest queen I’ve ever seen before.’ Glitz has been in the biz over 15 years and she’s performed all over,” he said. “It was a huge compliment. Mo’s gave me the green light, and that is how the Tea Party was born.” Kienbusch said the show was actually never supposed to be themed. That idea came afterwards. The first Tea Party in September 2018 was just drag queen comedy cabaret. He said it was a free for all, just do whatever you want.

see Mariam T, pg 5



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Jess Jessop founded Lambda Archives, The Center and so much more Out of the Archives Dana Wiegand


ambda Archives houses a wide variety of interesting and historically valuable collections, but few are as personal and comprehensive as the collection of Lambda Archives founder Robert “Jess” Jessop. Jessop was a paramount figure in San Diego’s LGBTQ civil rights movement from the early 1970s until his death in February 1990. He was one of the co-founders, a chair, and a director of the Gay Center for Social Services (now known as The Center), the founder of Lambda Archives (known as the Lesbian & Gay Archive), and was frequently involved with community

organizations such as the San Diego AIDS Project and San Diego Pride. Jessop was completely devoted to LGBTQ civil rights activism both locally and nationwide. In 1974, the Mission Valley May Company and the San Diego Police Department came under fire after the arrest of more than 40 men in the department store’s restrooms for perceived sexual intention and the discovery that the police had a search warrant that gave them permission to spy on the men who were using the May Company’s restrooms. The officers observed the men by using a set up that allowed officers to see into the restroom through a vent in the bathroom ceiling. In a highly detailed letter to his mother Ida, Jessop stated that local news publications printed the names, ages, addresses,

and occupations of the men who were arrested on four separate occasions before their trials, effectively participating in the “destruction of their private lives” and contributing to their persecution. Jessop also learned from attorneys who did work for The Center who were also handling some of the cases of those arrested at the May Company that “several of the arrestees had received threatening, obscene phone calls and letters as a result of the publications of their names.” When the arrests initially happened, there was a flood of calls to The Center, “the largest, most visible, and best-known gay organization in

San Diego” at the time, urging a response. As the then-director of The Center, Jessop called an emergency meeting at The Center which the president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union attended. The Center’s top people held a press conference — led by Jessop — in front of the May Company store, had Jessop and five others marched into the city attorney’s office to demand the charges be dropped, made guest appearances on local TV and radio stations, and organized a march on the May Company store. Through their action and the blatant civil rights violation, the few cases that were brought to trial were

thrown out. Another instance of Jessop’s fearlessness in regard to public demonstrations was his arrest in front of the United States Supreme Court Building during the 1987 March on Washington. The platform of the march was the legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships, the repeal of laws that criminalize sodomy between two consenting adults, a presidential order banning discrimination by the federal government, the passing of a lesbian and gay civil rights bill, an end to HIV- and AIDS-based discrimination, reproductive

see Archives, pg 5

It’s not my job to make you happy Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel Let me begin with a short poem: “You can call it codependence Or hyper-responsibility. Whatever you call it, it just doesn’t work.”

Jess Jessop speaking at the Gay Pride Rally during San Diego Pride 1978 (Photo by Lambda Archives)

Lately, in many of the couples I work with, these good, kind and wise people struggle with the same problem: each person thinks it’s their job to make their partner happy. Of course, this doesn’t work. But, we come by it honestly; most of us are trained to take on this impossible challenge. However, it’s actually a very primitive way of looking at dating/marriage: you make me happy and I’ll do the same for you. If only that worked… I’d like to replace this unrealistic relationship model with something that actually works: You take care of yourself, I’ll take care of myself, and then we can love each other as two happy, secure people. Our love will be a choice, not an act of desperation or loneliness. And, if it doesn’t work out (as is sometimes the case), I will be sad but not destroyed, because I have been taking care of myself and I will be OK. And the same will be true for you. Please don’t interpret this to mean that I’m encouraging you to be a selfish, self-absorbed narcissist. Far from it. Many of us — myself included — were raised by well-intentioned people who told us, “Don’t be selfish. Focus on giving to others, not yourself.” Sounds good. But, if you don’t focus on yourself first, how much do you have to give to others? What can you offer if you’re not secure and grounded yourself? This week, I saw three different couples struggling with this issue. Each couple was very different (re: age, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation), but what they shared was this unhelpful idea: “Why don’t you do more to make me happy?”


This usually shows up in statements like: “You never do ----------.” “You always do ----------.” “I hate it when you ---------.” “Why won’t you do more ----------?” See where this takes you? Not any place that you want to go. Frequently, couples tell me, “We have the same arguments all the time.” Well, of course: trying to force/cajole/manipulate/guilt-trip your partner into changing so that you will be happier doesn’t work. And even if you succeed, it’s likely that you won’t stop there — you’ll keep pushing your partner to keep changing in the false hope that once they change everything about them that pisses you off, you’ll be happier. It doesn’t work like that. When you change, you’ll be happier. And, when you’re happier, you’re less demanding and needy. Ironically, this is usually when your partner decides to change too. As I say in my book, “The Gay Man’s Guide to Open and Monogamous Marriage,” two strong, independent people in a relationship have much to freely give to each other…and then they can easily help each other to become the people they want to be. The bottom line? It’s my job to make myself happy and your job to make yourself happy. When we have this as the focus and purpose of our relationship, we will grow and change together. I’d like to let you know about a workshop I’m offering on Saturday, Sept. 14, from

1:30-3 p.m. at The Studio Door in Hillcrest. The workshop title is, “The ART of Aging Well: A Workshop for Gay Men”. The workshop is based on my next book: “The Gay Man’s Guide to Aging Well”. The ART of Aging Well will address questions like: • As a gay man, do you find aging (particularly in San Diego’s LGBT community) to be a challenge? • Do you find it hard to make peace with the physical changes that come with aging? • Do you feel less attractive and/or more “invisible" the older you get? The workshop is sponsored by Patric Stillman/The Studio Door (located at 3867 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest). Come join us as we explore these questions with a safe, supportive group of men, facilitated by yours truly. The workshop is limited to 25 men and the admission fee is $25. To register, please go to: bit. ly/2KvDCwM. For more information, contact Michael at 619-955-3311 or or Patric at 619-994-2263 or — Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit Graphic by www.


these people inspire this idiot’s drag. I’ve worked really hard and I am going to continue to work very hard to make this a niche experience. You’re never going to go to a show like this and that is the goal of Mariam’s Tea Party.” “One of the things I love about the Tea Party is you are going to see a number that has never been seen before and will never be seen again,” he continued. “Most of the numbers that you see at the Tea Party, the costumes are made, mixes are made. Everything is made for that one performance. One reason is that what we do is so obscure that you really just can’t take it to another bar and make it work. If I’m backstage half naked, I’m still talking to you guys, I won’t shut up. I am a little bit of a diva, and it’s my show, I’m going to talk a lot.” Kienbusch said he has a great DJ, John Williams who does great work with lighting effects, smoke machines, and spotlights. He said this great team is what he loves about the Tea Party, it’s a onetime thing. “Where else are you going to see Lolita Von Tease running around in a dinosaur costume?” he said. “Lolita is one of the most polished queens in San Diego and is going somewhere.

She’s very focused in on details and it’s great to work on a number with someone like her. Our ‘Jurassic Park’ number was a true joint effort. I don’t get to have her very often, but it is great when I do. She’s a great singer and she always does such a good job. So good. She makes all of her own clothes, a great seamstress.” That’s why Kienbusch always tells people not to miss a Tea Party, because there will be something there that you will never see again. “Occasionally we will bring back a number, but for the first part it is all new production,” he said. “It’s a long drag show, but it’s like it’s long but nobody ever leaves. If they are going to stay for a two hour drag show, I’m going to give them a two hour drag show.”

Kienbusch said he’s been doing drag since the age of 4, after his infatuation with a VHS concert of Reba McIntire singing “Fancy,” which had a quick-change reveal from a black to red dress at the end. “I would watch it over, and over and over,” he said. “One night my mom and dad and my grandparents were sitting

in the living room and I had little red baby blanket (that I still have to this day) and I wrapped it around me and then I took a black blanket. I put the VHS in a did my reveal and that was my first drag performance.” Kienbusch said he has many pictures of him playing in his grandma’s high heels, pantyhose and hats, and was always doing make up on his grandma, mom and always getting into their makeup and stuff. “I was really lucky, especially coming from a religious background, my parents were always very open,” he said. “All my toys were Barbies’. I had the house, the boat, the car. They did try to push me to play with more ‘boy’s toys’ but it just never worked. I threw a fit. There were no tractors or cars or GI Joes’, I had zero interest. It was all dress up and make believe.” He channeled all of this through middle school and junior high with the introduction into theater. He said it was cute as a kid but as he got older, society, his parents, his grandparents told him, “This was great when you were a kid, but now that you are a young boy, this is what you do.” That’s when he figured out the theater was a way for him to play dress up as much as he could, where it was okay. He found drag when he first dressed up as a drag character when he was 19. “My original drag character was a punk rock. rock n’ roll girl,” Kienbusch said “Strangely enough, I had a lot of teenage angst. That was really fun. Her name was Reagan, and I used to perform in clubs with her near my home in the South.” Mariam was born shortly after Reagan at a Halloween party. “My friend and I, we had very little money and it was a birthday/Halloween party combination, and everyone had to wear a costume,” he said. “We wanted to go as something together, like a joint outfit. So we went to different thrift stores and found this crush velour running suits. They were awful. We got those, I got a fur purse and she got a fanny pack, we had these terrible wigs and we went into her grandma’s house and we filled the bags with prunes, senior vitamins, fleet enemas and things like that. We went to the party as

basis of sex, which would have also provided labor protections for gays and lesbians in the work force. The Community Congress of San Diego — which gave local social organizations like The Center a voice in the distribution of San Diego social services funds — were in support of the bill as it would have provided employment protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, termination based on an employee’s refusal to provide sexual services, and termination directly following maternity leave. In 1986, Jessop wrote several members of the United States Congress about the AIDS crisis, research funding, and response programs.

Another letter was to Assembly member Maxine Waters, thanking her for authoring an Assembly bill that would have placed AIDS-related drugs on the Medi-Cal Drug Formulary, which if passed, would have highly benefited patients relying on Medi-Cal for AIDS treatment. Jessop additionally wrote in support of bills that would provide funds for voluntary and confidential AIDS antibody testing, wrote against the imprisonment of three female Marines for alleged homosexual behavior (which led to an investigation into the matter), and wrote in favor of legislation that would provide HIV and AIDS education and early treatment for people infected

with HIV. And in 1990, Jess lobbied for the San Diego Human Dignity Ordinance, which — among other things — prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of housing and employment. In a letter to then-Mayor Maureen O’Connor in 1990, Jessop wrote that there were numerous people in the LGBT community who “live in fear of the loss of their homes and/or their jobs if their sexual preference were known.” Throughout his many years of service to San Diego’s LGBT community, Jess Jessop set a precedent of what it means to be a LGBT civil rights activist and how to best serve the community. Because of his dedication


MARIAM T “It was a smash,” he said. “People came up to me and said they had never been to a show like this, never seen drag like this before, and I thought we were really on to something.” Kienbusch said Mo’s does so much on top of paying him, hiring the DJ, the spotlight person and the servers. They also set up and break down, performers get a tab for drinks, feed the girls and more. “The staff and marketing team at Mo’s was very happy with it and they gave me the green light again saying that I was on to something really cool here,” he said. “I have a great partnership with Mo’s. They just trust me, and I trust them. They let me do whatever I want to. I know what I can and can’t get away with. Do I push that envelope? Yes, I sure do.” Kienbusch said he sees new people at every show and the feedback is commonly that the show is so much more than drag with the comedy and production, more of a theater performance. “So, overtime with the Tea Party, each month progresses, and I try to curate an even more fun theme,” he said. “And it’s an experience. You come in and have dinner if you want. It’s definitely set up like a cabaret. We have the preshow before. I have an hour long of funny videos, a lot pulled from my favorite sketch shows, movies or whatnot.” Kienbusch said he wants people to come in and eat and have an experience. “I want people to sit down at our gorgeous pink sequined table covers, eat and watch these funny things. That kind of sets the tone for a night of fun. The videos are based around my theme,” he said. With the help of Mo’s, he said now when you go in, each table has an icon table topper with one of his favorite comedic icons on the front and on the back, drink specials and items with Skrewball. “It’s a small way for me to pay homage to people like Bette Midler, Paul Reubens, Robin Williams, Bea Arthur, Anna Nicole Smith and all of these people that inspire Mariam,” Kienbusch said. “So, when you sit at a table you can see that


ARCHIVES rights, and an end to racism in the United States. Jessop was arrested alongside another prominent San Diego activist, Albert Bell. In addition to being willing to participate in activism physically, Jessop also continuously wrote legislators in support of causes that he deemed important in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights. In 1979, Jess Jessop wrote multiple California Assembly members regarding a bill that sought to clarify what constituted as discrimination on the

Genderbending Mariam T takes on Chunk from the movie “The Goonies” at Mariam’s Tea Party: Blockbusters in June. (Photo by Albert H. Fulcher)

The birth of Mariam T

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019


Mariam and Yetta, sisters from the Bronx, and people thought it was really funny. I had another Halloween party and they said, ‘Bring Mariam again.’ So I did.” Kienbusch did YouTube videos for quite a long time. He used the punk rock drag queen Reagan that he would perform in the clubs and this old Yiddish, whatever, (Mariam). After he moved to California in 2013, he initially didn’t bring any drag with him. Wanting to be a serious improv actor, standup comedian was his major goal. “After a couple of years, I kind of missed Mariam,” he said. “What can we do with her? It was one of those finding what’s right in front of you things. Doing standup comedy as Remington was fine, but one day in 2017 I thought, ‘What if you do standup as her?’ It was one of those things I just had to do it. It was crazy that I just celebrated Mariam’s two years of performing.” Having never performed with Mariam outside of a YouTube camera, on July 10, 2017, Mariam appeared in a contest over at Lips. And in two years, it’s his main job. “It was like one of those things, like I accepted a calling,” he said. “And Mariam’s like, ‘Thanks for coming. Thanks for listening finally.’ After that I quit my job after a couple of months working as a server/bartender. I got hired at Mo’s, Lips. It happened so fast. Again, Mariam’s like, ‘Hey dummy.’ I never got paid as a standup comedian doing normal stand up shows or with people in LA and traveling groups. And then I was like, ‘Oh, you dress up like a woman and you get paid for it. There’s something there.’ That has bubbled over to drag performances, hosting events, fundraisers, private parties, and even bartending in drag.” “I kind of think about it like writers who have ghost names,” Kienbusch said. “In a way, Mariam is like that. She allows me to have that extra little bit of oomph, putting on a mask and playing pretend. And then I can just take it all off and chill out at home. That’s my favorite thing about drag, putting in on and taking it off. There is a separation there and it’s really nice. Mariam provides that for me.”

to preserving the history of our community, we are able to know the intimate details of the battles that were fought for LGBT civil rights, the thoughts of the San Diego activists who gave their all to the advancement of our community, and the groundbreaking moments in San Diego’s rich LGBT history.

— Albert Fulcher can be reached at

— Lambda Archives, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to collecting, preserving and teaching the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in San Diego and the Northern Baja California region, is located at 4545 Park Blvd., in University Heights. To learn more, stop in or visit their website at



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Creep of the Week: Mychal Massie By D’Anne Witkowski The news is a shit show. Trump is doing his best to prove that most white people in this country won’t recognize racism unless it’s wearing a white hood, saying the N-word and burning a cross on the lawn of a black family. Without that precise combination, well, who can really say what’s racist? And then there's the report that yet another black transgender woman has been murdered, this time in South Carolina, and news of the latest mass shooting in Gilroy, California. It’s enough to make anyone sick. But in order to triple down on terrible news, I headed to World Net Daily, the repository for right-wing, pro-Trump, faux-Christian, conspiracy-driven content. Lo and behold, I came across Mychal Massie’s “Sexual misfits and the Democratic clowns,” which sounds like a bill that would’ve played at CBGB back in the day but is actually a column about how

LGBTQ people are bad, and the Democrats are bad for not hating them. Massie, whose conservative Racial Policy Center “advocates for a colorblind society” (because, sure, ignoring racism is def going to make everything better), writes that Democrats “are manufacturing so-called transgendered people like polyester leisure suits were manufactured.” Okay, first of all, it’s “transgender,” thank you very much. Secondly, according to a website called MadeHow, “Polyester is a synthetic fiber derived from coal, air, water and petroleum.” This is not how people are made. But that doesn’t matter to Massie. He finishes his amazing analogy thusly: “In the near future, these poor misled souls of delusion will suffer the same regret as those who purchased those leisure suits.” In other words, according to Massie, transgender people will soon be widely available for sale at local Salvation Army stores because they’re going to go out of fashion. I think? It’s a dumb analogy, as it is comparing an

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Azzopardi Blake and Gwen Beckom Ben Cartwright Michael Kimmel Nicole Murray Ramirez Frank Sabatini Jr. Kendra Sitton Dana Wiegand D'Anne Witkowski

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article of clothing to actual human beings as if both were equally silly and disposable. Did I mention that yet another black trans woman was murdered? Because that's what happens in a society that sees trans lives as valueless. Then he launches into a screed against Megan Rapinoe. “She plays women’s soccer, but she’s first known as a lesbian,” Massie writes. I actually learned about Rapinoe as a soccer player before I learned that she was a lesbian (though, admittedly, that didn’t take long). Massie writes, “Why would anyone want to be known by his or her sexual fantasies? To me that screams insecurity.” I, too, hear insecurity screaming, but it’s not coming from Rapinoe. It’s coming from a guy who doesn't understand the difference between “fantasy” and “orientation” and is devoting a big chunk of his column to how awful he thinks Rapinoe is for living her best life. “Just what does Rapinoe’s being a lesbian enable her to

do better in a team sport other than cause clubhouse disturbances and a toxic clubhouse environment because of the bad attitude associated with her kind?” He offers this claim of “toxic environment” without offering any evidence other than what he himself associates with “her kind.” He seems to be arguing that since Rapinoe's sexual orientation doesn’t directly make her playing better or worse she should stay closeted because he “will never approve.” Massie claims that LGBTQ people are “miserable.” “The truth is that they are not happy, and no matter how hard they try, they will never be fulfilled because their lifestyles are not normal,” he wrote. “They are not what God ordained for man and woman.” And Massie would know, drawing as he is from (checks notes) his own prejudice and assumptions, not to mention a religion that somehow, as if by magic, supports said prejudices and assumptions. “This is the godless and immoral behavior being pushed by every single one of the Democrat presidential candidates,” he writes referring to the pro-LGBTQ rights positions

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held by the Democrats in the running. And he’s right. Dems are pushing LGBTQ equality. That is, when they’re not manufacturing leisure suits. Elizabeth Warren has a rainbow pantsuit for sale in her merch store. Not to be outdone, Joe Biden has a white Elvis-style suit for sale with rainbow rhinestones that spell J-O-E down the pant leg and across the jacket shoulders. Bernie Sanders also has a polyester suit, but it's not for sale because it’s just the one he wears. “I ask you to look at your children and family,” Massie concluded. “Is that what you really want for them?” Well, yes and no. Do I want my son and my family to live in a world where LGBTQ people are afforded equal rights and protections? Yes. But I also hope that they can live in this world while enjoying the feel of breathable fabrics. They deserve that much. —D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

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GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019


Update: 2020 candidates’ campaigns Conversations with Nicole Nicole Murray Ramirez With a recent endorsement from Gov. Gavin Newsome, leading in all polls and campaign fundraising, Todd Gloria is the clear frontrunner to make history as San Diego's first mayor of color and member of the LGBT community. But let's not forget that his opponent is a millionaire, has many wealthy friends and is quietly being supported by many conservative right-wingers. Let's not forget that Mark Leno was leading for mayor of San Francisco in 2018 and Hillary Clinton was leading in her 2016 presidential run and both lost. Let’s continue to give 100% to Gloria's campaign. By the way, Nick Serrano is doing an outstanding job as his campaign manager. Stephen Whitburn also leads in polls and fundraising for the 3rd District City Council seat, as well as holds most local Democratic current and past elected office holders’ endorsements including Democrats for Equality and the Uptown Democratic Club. In campaign fundraising, more people gave to Whitburn's campaign followed by Adrian Kwiatkowski, Chris Olsen and surprisingly in last place, Toni Duran. March 2020 will be the primary election, and this could turn out to be a close race. By the way, all the candidates are LGBT but who is Kwiatkowski, as I have never heard of him or seen him around our community? Why in the hell is radical lefty Jose Caballero running against one of the most loved, popular and hardworking Rep. Susan Davis, who is the only woman member of Congress from San Diego. Caballero thinks he is like A.O.C. of New

York when this nerd's only claim to fame is working for Kevin Beiser, who is in a big scandal. Jose was very close friends with Beiser but more on this relationship in a future column. Susan Davis will crush Jose in the primary — that everyone knows. Another hardworking and first woman City Attorney Mara Elliott is facing a challenge from a “sue everyone” guy searching for a public office — any office. I predict San Diegans will reward our dedicated City Attorney Elliot with a well-deserved second term. Everyone also seems to agree that City Council President Georgette Gomez has a big future ahead of her and is one of the most down to earth, authentic public servants I have ever gotten to know. Gomez should easily be re-elected. The District 1 San Diego County Board of Supervisor's seat race will be a rough-andtumble close campaign with well-known candidates: Nora Vargas, Rafael Castellanos and now state Sen. Ben Hueso. Current Supervisor Nathan Fletcher needs some more Democrats on that conservative republican board and Nora Vargas is the one — another qualified passionate Latina public servant like Gomez. I had breakfast the other day with popular state Assembly member Brian Maienschein, who I have proudly supported since he first ran for City Council. This proud Democrat works hard for this district and deserves to be re-elected. Toni Atkins, Lorena Gonzalez, Chris Ward, and Maienschein are all looking good to return to our state capitol with Gonzalez also becoming a clear frontrunner to be our next secretary of state! Former City Council member Carl DeMaio has made San Diego history as being the first candidate for public office to

have raised $500,000 — yes, a half million dollars — in 72 hours! Here we go again with the Courage Campaign, Equality California, LGBT Nation all gay-baiting and bashing DeMaio. Carl DeMaio has never hidden that he is gay or his 10-year relationship/marriage to businessman Jonathon Hale as these LGBT groups have lied about. DeMaio also has a 100% LGBT equality voting record when he was on City Council. I absolutely disagree with Carl on his conservative stands, especially gun control and the border issues. Liberal Democrats have many, yes, many reasons to be against Carl DeMaio but not when it comes to questioning and lying about being gay.

Benny Cartwright and Rick Cervantes leave The Center Probably the most respected, dedicated activists, and yes, loved men, have resigned from our San Diego LGBT Community Center staff — Benny Cartwright and Rick Cervantes. They join a long list of The Center employees exiting since the new executive director took over. And a majority have been gay men. The executive director has allegedly made them all sign non-disclosure agreements, but many have called me. What is going on at our Center? I have been contacted by a local media outlet that are doing an investigation story on The Center

(l to r) Benny Cartwright and Rick Cervantes and focusing on the staff departures, transgender concerns, criticisms, and more. I and other people are getting very concerned as the statements from current staff and former staff do not paint a good picture. The departure of respected activists like Benny Cartwright and Rick Cervantes is very disturbing as well as the assertion that staff are being made to sign non-disclosure agreements. I am looking into this situation too with more than a dozen former Center staff members already having already reached out to me. — Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/ gay activist for almost half a

Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN). The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.

events @THECEnTER Thursday, August 22

Black LGBTQ Town Hall 6-7:30 pm, The Center As part of The Center’s plan to get input for our strategic plan in order to better serve our community, we’d like to specially invite you to an upcoming Town Hall for the Black LGBTQ Community at The Center. This event is aimed at centering Black LGBTQ voices within our community as an opportunity for The Center’s leadership and strategic planning committee to listen to the community and collect feedback on how we can better serve the Black LGBTQ community. This special evening is co-sponsored by The Gender Phluid Collective: PoC LGBTQ+Support, San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition and Unity Fellowship Church Movement. Please join us for this important discussion. Dinner and refreshments will be provided

LGBT Safe S.T.A.Y. Program

(l to r) Assembly member Todd Gloria and San Diego City Council District 3 candidate Stephen Whitburn (Photos courtesy Big Mike Photography)

century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the ‘Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest’ by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at Nicolemrsd1@gmail. com and follow him on Twitter @Nmrsd2.

The Center is happy to provide the LGBT Safe S.T.A.Y. Program (Shelter for Transitional Age Youth) for youth ages 18-24. This 4-bed emergency housing program is available three nights per week for LGBTQ youth on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10pm-7am. To inquire about a bed call Silvia at 619.692.2077 x124.

Saturday, Sept 28

AIDS Walk & Run San Diego Registration is now open for the 30th Annual AIDS Walk & Run San Diego! Take a moment today to go to and register to help make the largest HIV fundraising event in San Diego even better than ever. To make participation even easier, we have a new and improved website that is a breeze to use and will streamline all your fundraising and organizing efforts. We are also pleased to share that AIDS Walk & Run San Diego will have a later start time this year. The Run will begin at 7:30 am, and The Walk will step off at 7:45 am, giving us all a little more time to sleep. We expect more than 8,000 San Diegans who are committed to standing up for those living and fighting HIV to join us for this year’s AIDS Walk & Run San Diego.

Community Survey: We want your opinion! We’ve had a great response to our communitywide survey regarding the future of The San Diego LGBT Community Center – many thanks to all of you who have participated so far. As you may know, the survey is an important part of The Center’s strategic planning process. To do the best future planning possible, we need to hear from as many people as we can to accurately capture the full diversity of ideas and hopes dreams our community has for the future of Our Center. Your voice in this planning process is crucial and will help The Center most effectively serve our community. To participate in The Center’s survey online in either English or Spanish, use the following links: English: Spanish: The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077

Twitter: @LGBTCenter



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Warmed up and ready to run Actress Jillian Bell talks gay running friends and her plan to showcase more LGBTQ stories By Chris Azzopardi Rest assured, I’m not spoiling anything when I say Jillian Bell runs a lot in “Brittany Runs a Marathon.” All that sweat and all those tears aren’t exactly taken from the 35-year-old actress’ life – in case you hadn’t noticed, this is about Brittany and “her” running but it could very well metaphorically dovetail with Bell’s career and the infinite miles she’s clocked to get to her own finish of sorts: a starring role. For her first lead part in a film, Bell portrays out writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s real-life best friend in his heartfelt debut feature, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in February. When we first meet Brittany, her life is in shambles. Landlord issues, job issues, friend issues, and according to her doctor, a less-than-ideal BMI issue. So, she runs. Short jaunts at first, then longer, steadier stretches. But as she trains for a marathon, Brittany learns that self-acceptance and personal growth aren’t just the result of going the literal distance. Starring concurrently in bisexual director Lynn Shelton’s “Sword of Trust,” which premiered recently at SXSW, Bell’s credits also include a smattering of comedic TV series like Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” and “Idiotsitter.” Filmwise, she starred alongside Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon in the bachelorette-party-gone-wrong farce “Rough Night” and “22 Jump Street,” her mainstream

MICHAEL KIMMEL Psychotherapist Author of "Life Beyond Therapy" in Gay San Diego 5100 Marlborough Drive San Diego CA 92116 (619)955-3311

breakthrough, playing the scene-stealing, deadpanning rival to Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s doofus cop duo. Bell phoned recently to chat about wine runs with a dear gay friend, shooting a scene with Bob the Drag Queen and her commitment to telling LGBTQ stories. (Chris Azzopardi) In real life, do you have any gay friends who’d run a marathon with you? (Jillian Bell) (My friend) Kyle would actually be amaaaazing at running a marathon. He would be cheering the entire time. The only thing: He would want to stop midway to just grab a little bit of rosé, which would make us very sick for the rest of the marathon. Conveniently, he might already have that in his Hydro Flask as you run. You know the ones that are attached to the hat and you just slurp out of them? That would be Kyle’s situation. But he’d be a blast. We’d have so much fun. We’d probably laugh the whole time. Do you have LGBTQ friends in your life who’ve pushed you to be a better version of yourself in the way that Brittany’s gay friend, Seth, does in the film? Absolutely. One of my best friends is Fortune Feimster. She’s hysterical. She is the coolest friend of mine. We did (The Groundlings’) Sunday Company together and then we ended up living next to each other in apartments. Then, when she moved into a house, I moved into a house nearby. I keep telling her I’m stalking her for the rest of her

life. She’s had me on her podcast and we’ve talked a lot about our careers because we’ve both been very blessed to have some great stuff happen. She’s always encouraging me; I’m always encouraging her. And she’s kind of my touchstone of someone who just makes me very, very happy. I think she’s been so smart in her career – the decisions that she’s made and what she’s decided to do and what it says about her – and she’s one of my best friends and I’m a big fan of hers. I love Seth and how supportive he is of Brittany – but what I really love is that he’s not just the token gay best friend. He also has a whole, full life of his own. Remember when gay characters only existed in films for the sake of the female protagonist? This feels like progress. I know, I know. This was written by Paul and he is a gay man, and the character he wrote that was basically inspired by his own story is Seth. This is sort of a love story for her of what she went through and how she achieved these goals, and Seth is a very important character in this movie. He’s always so positive and encouraging, and you’re right: He’s seen in the light that is different from a lot of films as the gay best friend. I think that that is such a wonderful and important thing. And of all the families portrayed in the film, he seems to have the most together, stable family unit. Yeah, he’s married, he has a kid, and all he wants is to have another kid and get in better shape in his life and he’s doing great. He’s a successful human being and that is important to showcase in film. It makes me really sad when it isn’t and so I’m just happy that our film is a part of doing something hopefully right. Do you find that gay male directors have a special way or a different sensibility when it comes to telling a female-centered story? I can only speak to my relationship with Paul and how we worked together, and there were moments where we would just cry together and moments of great strength. And we had moments where we would laugh till we were on the floor. We just had each other to lean on throughout this whole process, and it was a big bonding moment. Not only was he doing this almost for the second time in his life, because it’s about his real-life best friend, but it was his first film that he was directing and that he wrote, so that was a huge achievement. We just had a really strong connection and we both were very passionate from the beginning

Jillian Bell stars in “Brittany Runs a Marathon” (Photo courtesy Amazon Studios) about this story and how we weren’t sure if people would get it. We’re so excited now that, for the most part, people are understanding what this story is about. That makes both of us very happy. Before you began filming, you said it was going to be very challenging because of how the movie deals with women’s perceptions of their bodies. But you also were hoping it might be more therapeutic than difficult. Well, you’ve done the film. Was filming this like therapy? You know what? Both kind of happened. And I was expecting that. Sometimes you spiral out after these things, sometimes it’s therapeutic. It was both, but in a healthy way. It just sort of made me look at my relationship with my own body and how I was talking about myself. I can only speak from my perspective, but sometimes you’ll look at other people, some of your best friends, and think, “Oh, they’re all wonderful and beautiful and lovely and smart,” and then you’ll go home and you’ll say awful things to yourself that you would never say about anyone else. I just felt like this movie hits on that and how society treats you but also how you treat yourself. What it feels like to choose yourself for the first time. By doing this project, I also felt like I was running my own marathon. I didn’t really want to address (these themes) in either film or television unless it was doing it right, and this is the first film that I read that was sort of a transformation story, but it wasn’t like “girl gets skinny, girl has a better life.” To me, that’s very important to put out there for women and men. I shouldn’t say I’m surprised, but it’s been overwhelming how many men relate to that and how difficult it is when you don’t come out looking like Adonis. It’s a lot. By the end of her

journey, I was weeping. Because – shocker! – gay men have body image issues too. Awww. I’m so glad you liked the film and you related to it. This is why we did it. I haven’t seen a movie like this in a very long time, maybe not ever, where I thought, “These are real humans, this is a real human story.” There are raw emotions here, and there’s vulnerability in a way that’s so beautiful and isn’t always showcased in film. I just really wanted to be a part of that kind of storytelling. Your filmography has been very LGBTQinclusive. As Alice in ‘Rough Night,’ you were the perfect ally-friend to Blaire and Frankie, played by Zoë Kravitz and Ilana Glazer. Absolutely! We wanted to get them back together! I mean, how cute is that couple? And they were always fighting with each other and we were like, “You like each other! Get back together!” I was so happy with that ending too, because I don’t think I was around when they were shooting that part of the scene where they end up being back together at the end and I loved the way it was handled. It was so beautiful and real. Also beautiful: that cameo from Bob the Drag Queen, who was the DJ while you girls danced to ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick It).’ Oh my goodness, Bob the Drag Queen. Amazing! We had a really good time. I think that was our second day of shooting, and I remember I was so nervous because my character was the one that had to know the dance perfectly because she holds onto her college memories for dear life. So, I was in my own head about the dance – and then everybody else was losing their minds over Bob! I was like, “I’m so excited to be working

see Interview, pg 9


GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019



INTERVIEW with you too!” We were so thrilled that we got to work with Bob. While writing for ‘SNL,’ do you recall any LGBTQoriented sketches you wrote? I’m trying to remember. It’s funny: I just did an interview today where they were showing a clip from something that I wrote and it was a sketch called “Your Mom Talks to Megan Fox,” and it was just a mother talking to Megan Fox and how funny that conversation would be. But, actually, I’ll be honest with you: I did not get a lot of stuff on the air (laughs). I don’t remember most of my sketches, but I’ll say this: I don’t remember anything really making it on. As Cynthia in ‘Sword of Trust,’ you play a lesbian. Is this the first lesbian character you’ve played, and what can you tell us about her? I’m trying to think if it’s the first lesbian character I’ve played – it might be, technically! I will just say I believe it was originally going to a woman who’s a lesbian – I wanna say that (laughs) – and they called me last minute because she had to go shoot another project, which is very exciting! But I’m hoping I did it justice. We had the best time shooting. Michaela (Watkins, who also stars alongside Bell in “Brittany

Jillian Bell portrays out writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s real-life best friend in his heartfelt debut feature. (Photos courtesy Amazon Studios) Runs a Marathon”) and we were … I would say careful. We wanted to make sure they seemed like a real couple and they really cared about each other. I think that comes across in the movie, that they would do anything for each other. It’s really sweet. As a comedian, are you conscious of what lines should and shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to queer content? Absolutely. One of my good friends is nonbinary and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to showcase more artists in the LGBTQ+ community. We would love to do something where there’s an actress who wants to work with a new upand-coming director who is

trans, or a nonbinary short film where it’s showing them being the one who saves the day when there’s a plane attack. We are just like, “What are interesting stories we haven’t seen before in making people superheroes or just showing normal life?” Like in our movie, with Seth. Just showcasing more of that. There was this sort of unofficial questionnaire online, and they were asking a bunch of questions about what they have and haven’t seen in film and television. The amount of LGBTQ people that wanted to be seen but also not killed off immediately was so upsetting to me and it opened up my eyes to the fact that that happens and how sad that is

and, you know, if they’re gonna do a remake of “Harry Met Sally,” what is the gay version? I’m curious to see that. I would love to see that. I would pay for a ticket to go see that film because we’ve seen it the other way for so long. Speaking of role reversal, what’s the latest on the Disney remake of ‘Splash’ with Channing? Yeah, we’re trying – we’re trying! It’s being written right now. Really excited about it. Anything to work with him again because he is a doll of a human being and, I mean, it would be such a dream come true. I would be playing, basically, the Tom Hanks part, and what is more thrilling than that?

And, to boot, Channing as a merman. Yes, Channing as a merman! I’m giving the people what they want. That’s what I’m trying to do. At the very least you’re giving me what I want, so thank you. Yes, I’m doing this for you, Chris. (Laughs) —As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.

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GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Voluptuous meat cones Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr.


lending into the commercial jungle of Clairemont Mesa is a fast-casual Middle Eastern restaurant you can only hope will someday spread its wings into your neighborhood. Despite its confident name, Simsim Outstanding Shawarma is no false boast. Located in a large plaza fronted by McDonald’s, just east of Interstate 805 off the Clairemont Mesa Boulevard exit, the bright modernly designed eatery would be all the

Chicken-pomegranate shawarma

rage if located in any hipster locale. It was co-founded a year ago by Nawar Miri, a Detroit transplant who grew up in the food industry, earned a law degree, and worked as corporate director for the national chain, Urban Plates. Before opening, he recruited from Jordan Ibrahim Alsharief, a chef and marketing major who earned his chops in fivestar hotels and luxury restaurants throughout the Middle East. Armed also with a passion for cooking dating back to his childhood, his shawarma is scratch-made, right down to the spices he grinds to marinate the chicken and beef-lamb pieces, which he then piles

Simsim Outstanding Shawarma 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Ste. 301 (Clairemont Mesa) 858-430-6717 Prices: Salad, $7 Shawarmas, $9 and $10 Bowls and plates, $9 to $11.50 meticulously into large conical wonders. The cones of chicken shawarma, for example, weigh nearly 80 pounds each. Like the beef-lamb cones, they’re loaded onto vertical spits where they lusciously baste in their own juices and seasonings under gentle, steady heat. The sweating meats come into quick focus upon entering the eatery, which greets with a kind of modern-groovy look achieved by white walls, big windows, wooden tables, and live greenery. Sitting above a pair of metal dispensers offering complimentary teas are glass jugs filled with some of the spices Alsharief uses in his recipes, such as cardamom, cilantro seeds and cloves. Though decorative, the spices are vital to many of the dishes, as they create far more complexity than what you’ll encounter in foods served at other Middle Eastern restaurants in our region. A worthy introduction to these authentic flavors begins with the “signature side plate.” It features generous scoops of chunky baba ghanoush, creamy hummus, muhammara (pureed red pepper, garlic, onions and walnuts), and moutabel, a yogurt-based blend of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon and garlic that you might mistake for the baba ghanoush. The arrangement is served with excellent pita bread using a dough recipe from Alsharief that’s made by a local bakery. Ditto for the saj bread enveloping the two different types of shawarma meats and their various garnishments. Juicy pomegranate seeds give rise to the Simsim chicken

The “daring” beef-lamb shawarma

Chef Ibrahim Alsharief constructs the meat cones by hand. (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

shawarma, which commingles breast and leg meat. Also inside the wrap are diced potatoes, fresh parsley and garlic sauce. The flavors were soothing and somewhat holiday-like, especially once I began detecting hints of cinnamon and clove used for marinating the poultry. The “daring” shawarma wrap was also unlike any I’ve had in the past, mainly because of the invisible wisps of tomato sauce folded into the scheme. Alsharief says it’s a traditional ingredient in Middle Eastern countries. Combined with the 70/30 ratio of beef and lamb, plus onions, arugula and tahini sauce, it added the right amount of tang and acidity to keep me chomping away. Falafel, too, is made inhouse. And it’s full of character — crispy on the outside, tasty and steamy on the inside, nothing like those bland, mealy orbs made from powdered mixes. Alsharief actually soaks the garbanzo beans overnight and then cooks them down with the appropriate spices before blending them down for shaping. From the “bowls & plates” category, I tried the “indulge,”

which offered a medley of the carved chicken, the beef-lamb meat, garbanzos, mint, sumac, slivered almonds, and tomato and tahini sauces. Naturally, a riot of flavors ensued, not to mention a lively contrast of textures due to the topping of crumbled pita chips. The bowl further proved that too many of the Middle Eastern restaurants I frequent skip out on certain spices and cooking steps while pulling in Mediterranean-American influences that can interfere with this type of cuisine. Feta cheese, for instance, is nowhere to be found here. Although skinny french fries do show up on some of the plates — and I didn’t mind them at all. In celebration of its one-year anniversary, Simsim will offer select menu items for only $3.65 on Aug. 23, 24 and 25. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of ‘Secret San Diego’ (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at

House-made falafel

The “signature side plate” of hummus and other Middle Eastern spreads


As we reported in May about Project Pie’s acquisition by the Los Angeles-based Elite Restaurant Group (Slater’s 50/50 and Daphne’s restaurants), the company has decided

to convert its remaining San Diego locations of Project Pie to Patxis Pizza shops, which was still in question at the time of the takeover. Those outlets are in Hillcrest, Chula Vista and Eastlake. They’re due for re-branding by late summer. The new Patxis Pizza concept will beckon to those throughout California and Colorado with a variety of deep-dish and thincrust pizzas. The menu extends also to hearty sandwiches, meatballs served in bread bowls, and to the unexpected non-Italian offering of chicken tikka masala. The Hillcrest location is at 3888 Fourth Ave., 619-501-8000,

The long-established Szechuan Mandarin restaurant (5855 Mission Gorge Road) in Grantville has permanently shuttered after serving cuisine inspired by China’s Sichuan province and Mandarin culture since 1980. A paper sign taped to the doors thanked “faithful customers,” but offered no

explanation for the closure. The establishment is among a handful of old-school Chinese restaurants that have disappeared from San Diego’s landscape over the past several years, with the most recent being Chop Suey/Peking Restaurant in North Park.

Deep-dish pies by Patxis Pizza are coming to Hillcrest. (Facebook)

Fans of chef, restaurateur and author Su-Mei Yu can learn some of her culinary secrets in a cooking class she’s conducting from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Sept. 7, at her recently opened Saffron Thai in La Jolla. The restaurant is an offshoot to the original location at 3731-B India St. in Mission Hills. Yu will teach attendees how to make popular dishes from her restaurants, in addition to her versatile “anti-inflammatory paste,” which serves as the foundation for some of the recipes. She will also demonstrate ways to blend spices such as turmeric, peppercorns and garlic for achieving optimal health benefits. The cost is $55 per person and includes a signed copy of Yu’s most recent cookbook,

The double-decker roast beef and turkey “Manfred Mannwich” is one of nearly two dozen new creations at Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe. (Photo courtesy Cheryl Dagostaro)

Just when you thought the menu at Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe in North Park couldn’t get any lengthier, it did. Owner Cheryl Dagostaro recently hit her goal of offering 100 different sandwich choices in what is a shrine to musicians of the 1960s and the Woodstock Music Festival from 50 years ago. She opened the eatery in 2011 with 20 sandwiches on the menu. Three years later

A patio wine tasting from a San Marcos producer is on the calendar at The Wine Lover. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

The Wine Lover in Hillcrest will hold its first-ever tasting by a winery based in San Diego County, from 5 to 7 p.m., Aug. 31. Two whites and three reds from Twin Oaks Valley Winery in San Marcos will be poured and discussed by vintner/owner Malcolm Gray, who sources his grapes exclusively from local growers. The event will be held on the patio and is limited to 25 people. It is the sixth of eight Saturday tastings scheduled for this year. The cost is $45, which includes wines and a cheese bar. Reservations are recommended by calling The Wine Lover or visiting its website. 3968 Fifth Ave., 619-2949200,

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Babycakes will put its stamp on this modern space before moving in this year. (Courtesy photo) The acclaimed Babycakes is returning “home” to Hillcrest this fall as it resettles into a prime address previously occupied by Pinkberry, at the corner of Fourth and Robinson avenues. The structure sits one block away from where Babycakes originally operated for several years. This time around, according to co-owner Christopher Stavros, the bakeshop won’t feature a bar-restaurant component, although it will eventually serve Champagne, beer, coffee and frozen yogurt. “That decision came during our restructuring of the business in 2017. We just want to focus on one thing and do it well,” he said, in reference to the company’s toothsome line of cupcakes and other baked

goods, which also include customized wedding and birthday cakes. He added the recent popup of Babycakes inside Fiji Yogurt at the HUB Hillcrest Market will likely discontinue once the new, permanent space opens. The inventory will feature about 25 flavors of cupcakes, plus crème brulee cheesecake, brownies, cookies, muffins and more. The location will serve as a pickup spot for customized orders as well. Babycakes also operates a bakery and coffeehouse in Imperial Beach. The Hillcrest space will be nearly equal in size and feature a sleeker, more modern design. 3795 Fourth Ave., 619-990-2282,

Su-Mei Yu shares recipes containing anti-inflammatory benefits. (Red Coral Public Relations)

“The Elements of Life.” 1055 Torrey Pines Road, 858-2634324, the number rose to 50, and in January of this year it had grown to 77. “I just added the last 23 and I’m finally going to take a nap,” she quipped before naming off some of the newcomers such as Leon’s Love, Manfred Mannwich, Frampton Fire and Elton’s Everything — named after Leon Russell, Manfred Mann, Peter Frampton and Elton John, respectively. Dagostaro’s creations feature various meats, cheeses, garnishments, condiments and house-made sauces. There are 33 vegetarian choices in the lineup. More than a dozen salads are also available. In celebration of the shop’s eighth anniversary on Aug. 17, all sandwiches will be 20% off, and with a slice of cake included. 3042 North Park Way, 619-6921969, —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at


3/10 Nine- Ten restaurant


GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019


When is the best time to exercise? Fitness Blake and Gwen Beckcom


here have been many debates about the effectiveness of exercise during certain parts of the day. While nighttime workouts have been thought to disrupt sleep, new research adds in a new factor of the body's circadian rhythm to determine the best time to exercise. The human body has a circadian rhythm that corresponds with the cycles of the sun and the moon. Research has shown that muscles also follow this cycle, and therefore function better during the day. Oxygen works with our circadian rhythms inside muscle cells to create energy, which corresponds with the time of day. Your muscles’ daily cycles control your response to exercise Muscles can most efficiently use oxygen for energy during the day, or during their waking period. Researchers have genetically mutated the circadian clock in certain muscle fibers, leading to abnormalities while the muscles are at rest. Muscles vary throughout the day when it comes to their proteins, their effect on metabolism, and their production of lactic acid, which is why it is important to time your exercise right in order for it to be the most effective. Several studies have been

done to discover how to find one's unique circadian rhythm. Because exercise releases biochemicals in the brain and body, exercise has been shown to almost certainly affect the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm. Exercise makes the body be able to judge the amount of movement it needs, and when it should be resting. When is it best to exercise? Exercising during the night is not the most effective method for your muscles or circadian rhythm. However, you must find out what time of day is most effective for your body to exercise. This may largely depend on your schedule. If your schedule is flexible and you can choose when to exercise, there are some benefits to certain times of day. If you are going by your circadian rhythm, the best time to exercise is in the afternoon. Body temperatures are typically a bit warmer in the afternoon than they are in the morning. This results in both better muscle performance as well as a decreased risk of injury. Benefits of morning exercise Some research also creates an argument for the effectiveness of a morning workout. Research has shown that 45 minutes of exercise right after you wake up may reduce food cravings throughout the day. Morning exercise has also been shown to result in an increase in overall daily physical activity.

It is also best to exercise in the morning while fasting. Exercising on an empty stomach can help prevent weight gain and a resistance to insulin. When fasting and exercising together, the impact of cellular factors is maximized, which forces fat to breakdown to create energy. If working out on a completely empty stomach is troublesome, you can drink a high-quality protein shake prior to your workout. Evening exercise isn't necessarily bad While it may not be ideal to exercise in the evenings, if you must do so, you may not need to change your habits. A recent study found that people who vigorously exercised for 35 minutes just prior to going to sleep, slept equally well as they did on nights when they did not exercise. Some polls have even reported people saying they sleep better after an evening workout. This has led the National Sleep Foundation to conclude that exercise is beneficial for sleep, no matter what time of day it is done. If you are unsure when to exercise, you can do some trial and error to see what feels right. Try doing 30 days of morning exercise, followed by 30 days of afternoon exercise, or whatever your daily schedule allows you to do. With increasing

see Fitness, pg 15


Community is what we make of it Back Out with Benny Ben Cartwright


n advance of writing this column, I posed a question on Facebook asking, “What does (LGBTQ) community mean to you?” This is a concept I’ve really been thinking a lot about this summer, especially since I’ve had some extra time on my hands while I recover from professional burn out that developed over the last two decades. I suppose community is a group of people brought together by common bonds, whether they be geographical, or based on shared traits, interests, etc. Sounds pretty simple? Sure. But those who are members of a marginalized community like the LGBTQ community really need to hold each other tight and take the concept of community more seriously — myself included. I really got to thinking about this because in the last couple months, since I left my fulltime job and some other activities, it was interesting that after I made some posts (and wrote a column in this publication) about the burn out and other issues I was experiencing, that only a small group of people reached out to me to check in on my well-being. And these were mostly people who regularly connected me with anyway. Every message, call, text, hug, coffee date, etc. following my life transition was appreciated — more than those who reached out will ever know! But there was a major void that I noticed by people who seemed like family to me, but once I was no longer part of their daily work or community activism life, it was like radio silence. Now luckily, my mental health is strong, I have a great support system of friends and family, and don’t necessarily need anyone’s validation for anything I do. But I wanted to share that because really, the only thing I’m really an expert on is myself, and that was my experience. But that experience made me concerned about so many others in our community that we don’t check-in with regularly — especially seniors, and those who are struggling with a number of things like mental health, financial instability, and more.

I was crushed to hear recently that longtime LGBTQ ally Cindy Green passed away in her home, alone, and wasn’t found for likely up to 11 days after her death. Where were we? Where was I? Cindy was kind enough to reach out to me via Facebook Messenger on June 26, a few weeks after I announced my career change, to check-up on me, and we ended the conversation with her letting me know that she was also going through some life changes, too, and offered me her phone number so we could connect further. Pride season approached, I got “busy,” never contacted her, and then we all found out several weeks that the worst had happened. Maybe, just maybe, if me, or anyone had reached out to her, she might still be with us today. We all have struggles. But we, myself very much included, need to do a better job checking in on each other. Not to “get coffee” to “discuss a community project” or talk shop, but genuinely sit down together, put electronic devices away, look each other in the eyes, and just say “how are you doing?” And honestly share with each other. There are so many forces from the outside, and even from within our community, that work hard every day to bring us down. The more we can connect to build stronger community with each other, the better off we’ll all be. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings. It really means nothing what someone’s career, political, social, or financial status is. As a community, we all have an obligation to connect and look out for each other. And I hope we can do better at that. If folks don’t agree with this, or read it but don’t follow through, if nothing else, this is my pledge to personally be better. I look forward to genuinely connecting with many of you very soon! —Benny Cartwright is a local LGBT activist and Nicky Award’s 2018 Man of the Year. Benny can be contacted at Benny.bc.cartwright@gmail. com. Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography. Graphic by www.

GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

Red Dress Party 2019 – Red Dress Party San Diego is a whimsical fundraising event where everyone is encouraged to be brave, let loose, and celebrate impact. Like the name suggests, attendees are required to wear a red dress, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. This serves as a powerful sign of compassion and solidarity for those affected by HIV/AIDS and as a way to unite the crowd in one radiant theme. Pre-sale tickets now available at discounted prices for this Sept. 14 event. General admission: $60. VIP admission: $160. Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. 100 N. Harbor Drive.

SOS – Tickets are now on sale for Sobriety on the Sand’s (SOS) annual threeday event Oct. 11-13. With three days of events, entertainment, fun and games, workshops and more, SOS provides a safe and entertaining space for those in recovery. $125. Marina Village, Mission Bay. 1936 Quivira Way.

‘Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live’ – Tickets are already on sale for the hilarious Peabody Award-winning

hit TV comedy coming to San Diego on Jan. 25, 2020, with an all-new Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour! Join creator and original host, Joel Hodgson, in his final tour and the world’s greatest – and only – movie-riffing robots, Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy, as they take you on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride through some of the cheesiest films ever made “Mystery Science Theater 3000” has earned its place in history as one of the top 100 TV shows of all time. Now you can sit in the same theater with your favorite characters and experience this comedy phenomenon in a universally acclaimed live event. $45.50-$65.50. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave.

AIDS Walk & Run – Teams are now forming for the 30th Annual AIDS Walk & Run San Diego set for Saturday, Sept. 28. Each year, AIDS Walk & Run San Diego teams play an extra special role in the overall success of this event. By forming a team, and simply saying “Walk with me,” our team leaders help send the message that we all have a role to play in the fight to end HIV in San Diego. If you’re thinking about forming a team, or you are a current team leader, please attend one of our upcoming Team Leader Workshops. The workshops provide team leaders with the most current organizing information and resources and give you the chance to meet your fellow team leaders. Upcoming workshops will take place at The Center, 3909 Centre St., on the following dates: Aug. 14, 8-9 a.m., Aug. 14, 5-6 p.m., Aug. 24, 10-11 a.m., Aug. 28, 8-9 a.m., and Aug. 29, 6-7 p.m. To register for the workshops, or get more information about forming a team, please contact Leo Cartier, teams coordinator, at 619-692-2077, ext. 144 or email teams@thecentersd. org.

Backpack Drive – Imperial Court de San Diego is holding its annual backpack fundraiser and will be collecting back to school items. Needed: backpacks, pencils, paper, calculators, rulers, pens, staplers, tape, glue, colored pencils, markers, erasers, binders, folders, composition books, crayons, scissors, highlighters and more. The Court is also raising money for uniforms for lower income students attending Gompers Preparatory Academy. The Court will be accepting donations until Aug. 21. For more information, call Regina Styles at 619-288-1183. Saturday, Aug. 17 Drag Bingo Fundraiser – Join host Remington Scott Kienbusch (Mariam T) as we play bingo for a good cause. We will be raising money for the 2019 San Diego Sparks. MO’s Bar & Grill, 308 University Ave. Back to School Backpack Drive – The New Maxims Chinese Food Restaurant is donating 10% of your bill to the Imperial Court de San Diego’s annual backpack drive. Noon to 10 p.m. 2810 El Cajon Blvd. For more information, contact Mark: 619-665-5587.

Sunday, Aug. 18

G4G San Diego + Frontrunner AFC Half – Join Gay For Good San Diego and the Frontrunners for our annual project to serve water to runners during the AFC Half Marathon! G4G San Diego events are open to people of all ages, abilities, identities, and expressions. We ask

that you sign both a G4G waiver and a Frontrunners waiver before you begin your volunteer shift. Just arrive at the tables along Balboa Park by 6:30 a.m. to sign your volunteer waivers and grab supplies. Frontrunners will provide coffee, bagels, and water for volunteers. If you are under 18 years of age, please bring a parent/guardian with you. We will take a group photo with our banner before we begin our volunteer work. Please bring your family and friends to join too! The event will be held outdoors so we suggest wearing a hat and/or sunscreen. 6:30-9:30 a.m. Sixth Avenue and Elm Street.


1 Producers of rainbows 6 Words before about 10 Nicky, in “Funny Girl” 14 Seminal computer 15 “The Great Masturbator” painter 16 Second opening? 17 Port in the land of samurai 18 Patsy’s “Ab Fab” partner 19 Lodge members 20 Start of a quote by Jeannette Rankin, first woman to be elected to the House 23 Mean Amin 24 Medium for Frasier Crane 25 JFK posting 28 Hoopla 30 “Curbing lesbianism” advocate May of the U.K. 34 More of the quote 37 Michelangelo masterpiece 38 Sauce brand

39 Lubed up 42 Like a poor excuse 43 That is, to Cicero 45 More of the quote 47 Pardons 50 Directional ending 51 Organ pleasured by Bernstein 52 “My place or ___?” 54 Sex toy battery size 56 End of the quote 63 1847 Melville novel 64 Gather, after spilling seed 65 Urvashi Vaid's birthplace 66 Burning software 67 Woods of “Legally Blonde” 68 Physics Nobelist Bohr 69 Go off, on Broadway 70 Phillippe of “Gosford Park” 71 Lavatory door sign

held during the fundraiser. On top of that, we will have other raffle prizes to give away. Come down and enjoy yourselves for a good cause! Opportunity drawing for the Heart voncert: One entry for each $20 donated. Maximum entries will be 50. Tickets are VIP, with VIP parking and access to the VIP lounge with two buffets! Support SBPRIDE2019! You don't have to be present to win. Click here to donate online and get entered!

Monday, Aug. 26

Thursday, Aug. 22

Town Hall at The Center – As part of The Center’s plan to get input for our strategic plan in order to better serve our community, we’d like to specially invite you to an upcoming Town Hall for the black LGBTQ community. This event is aimed at centering black LGBTQ voices within our community as an opportunity for The Center’s leadership and strategic planning committee to listen to the community and collect feedback on how we can better serve the black LGBTQ community. This special evening is co-sponsored by The Gender Phluid Collective: PoC LGBTQ+Support, San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition and Unity Fellowship Church Movement. While all are invited to attend, black LGBTQ voices and their families’ will be centered! We’re looking forward to listening to open and honest feedback from members of San Diego’s black LGBTQ community. Please join. Dinner and refreshments will be provided. 6-7:30 p.m. 3909 Centre St.

Saturday, Aug. 24

South Bay Pride 2019 fundraiser – Come enjoy Ingenue and the Social Animal play while supporting South Bay Pride 2019! Drawing for two VIP tickets to the Heart concert will be

Trivia night to support LGBTQ shelter – Join the San Diego Coalition for Reproductive Justice for a trivia night! All proceeds will be donated to Casa Arcoiris, the first LGBTQ+ migrant shelter in Tijuana. Casa Arcoiris is doing vital work on the ground providing food, shelter, legal and medical services, workshops, and a safe space for LGBTQ asylum-seekers fleeing violence. Space is limited, get your tickets today! $40. The Lamplighter, 817 W. Washington St.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Uncorked and Movie Under the Stars – Join us in San Diego's only urban oasis for movie night at InsideOUT featuring “Pretty Woman.” Get comfortable in our elevated lounge next to our fire pits or bring your own pillows and blankets and feel right at home on our ramp. Wine bottles are half-off from our selected menu and complimentary popcorn for our viewing guests. This event is free, but an RSVP is encouraged. Space is limited, seats will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 7:30-10 p.m. 1642 University Ave., Suite 100.




solution on page 14 DOWN 1 Sneaky Pie cry 2 ___ many words 3 Thailand, once 4 George of “Star Trek” 5 Series with gay veep Cyrus Beene 6 Baltic Sea feeder 7 George of “Robot Monsters” 8 Dated 9 Saudi Arabian capital 10 Part of the Musketeers' credo 11 Soda shop treat 12 Ornament in “Cleopatra,” perhaps 13 Deep pink 21 Senatorial staffers 22 Wasn’t straight 25 Month of the National Day of Silence 26 Novelist Charles 27 Big name in synonyms 29 Night stalker 31 Give the slip to

32 Cel mate of Nala 33 “Do” in “The Sound of Music” 35 Beat around the bush 36 Rilke’s ice 40 “Evita” narrator 41 Islam’s sacred text 44 Horny sound 46 Forever young 48 1930s-’40s villain 49 Without restraint 53 Milano opera house, with “la” 55 Bill T. Jones’ partner Zane 56 Cutting edge creator 57 Financial page heading 58 Petty of “Orange Is the New Black” 59 What you do at the other end 60 Genie portrayer Barbara 61 Russian River deposit 62 Give some lip to




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FIRST SPOUSE “Rocky gets into a challenge, sidetracked by sexuality in high school and that doesn’t go very well,” Strayve said. “So, he decides to get out of Southern California. Fortunately, because of his academics and family connections he’s accepted to the Naval Academy. So, he goes to the Naval Academy, ends up playing football there and he meets another guy Nick. Long story short, Nick becomes a JAG officer when he graduated two years before Rocky and later Rocky becomes a Marine fighter pilot and an ace in the Iraqi War. Fast forward decades later they get married, and then fast forward a little bit more and one of them (?) is elected president of the United States.” Strayve said this was a page turner, and he was correct. In the first chapter, you meet a war hero receiving commendations for his heroism from the president. But beneath the staunch Marine Corps fighter pilot, there is an intimate look at the closeted man inside whose biggest fear at that time is anyone finding out about his true sexual identity. Dialogue is absorbing, creating a sense to know more about Rocky, how he got there and if he will ever be comfortable with identifying as his true self. The book covers years of Rocky’s life beginning with his high school days. “A lot of people seem intrigued about the idea and the concept,” Strayve said. “It catches a lot of people off guard. The whole concept has people wondering where the book is going to go. When people start reading the book just because it is a good book, they’ll find that it really is a good story. There is much, much more to this story. It’s a spotlight on authenticity.” Strayve said when people grow up in their lives hiding something or having to hide who they are, for whatever reason, he believes that their lives are diminished by hiding. “I know you are, because I did firsthand,” Strayve said. “You don’t grow as well and as healthy physiologically when you are hiding. I know. My whole life I was afraid that someone was going to discover my secret. You just do not flourish, and I said to


GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

and a very healthy marriage,” he said. “I was transparent about who I was. The kids went off to college and my wife and I decided that it was time for me to live my authentic life. We remain very close.” Strayve works in financial planning since he got out of the Marine Corps in 1985 and moved back to San Diego in November 2000. He is not only working on the sequel to “First Spouse” as he is in the final heaving editing process of an international epic novel that takes place between 1860 and 1960 and broken into two books, “Braxton’s History” volumes 1 and 2. “Braxton’s History” is LGBT related,” Strayve said. “Many of the characters in

States” is now available at Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble. As a reader, I just mentioned the first chapter. I’m still reading and it’s a wonderful novel that many LGBT people can relate to and can provide some wonderful insight for those who have never had to hide their sexual identity. Strayve was right in calling this book a page turner and its timing is impeccable. “I did send Buttigieg the book, I wrote a nice letter, and autographed the book,” Strayve said. “Now it is his turn when holding one of the debates to step up and say, ‘Buy this book.’”

myself, stop that. In the book it is a lot like that. Live authentically or whither.” Strayve said he hopes to lay the groundwork for people to live on their own terms and not living other people’s expectations. “Go full boar, not just be authentic, you have to have character. You have to be honest and when you are you should be treated that way,” he said. There is a sequel in the making, but Strayve won’t say much without giving away the story. He tells people not to read the end of this book because it will destroy the book for you. “Everyone who reads the book, and the ending, say that it is not what they expected,” Strayve said. “Some are ticked off and some are asking where is the sequel? I’m three chapters into it and it is going very well. I hope to have the sequel out the first or second quarter of next year. It won’t take me long to write it because I know where I am going with it and it’s a lot of fun.” Strayve’s father was a military fighter pilot and one of the places he lived when he was 4 and 5 was in Coronado. His father was assigned to an aircraft carrier that was there at the time and that was before the Coronado Bridge. “We used to take the ferry over. It was a pretty neat place to live,” he said. “When you are a military brat, you get moved around a lot. I went to nine schools before I went to college anywhere between Hawaii and Rhode Island. Then I went to Florida State and majored in ‘party’ and I had to change majors, so I enlisted in the Marine Corps.” One of the reasons Strayve said he enlisted in the Marine Corps, was first, he felt it was the hardest and he had some issues going on in his life with his own sexuality. “I wasn’t out, and I wanted to prove to myself that I was a man, so I went into the Marine Corps,” Strayve said. “I went in as a private, spent time in the HMX1 Presidential Helicopter Squadron, and made sergeant. Later I went to officer’s candidate school and became a communications officer spending time at Guantanamo, Korea, Japan and other areas.” In the meantime, Strayve married, and had three children. He was married for 30 years. “It was a great marriage


to day with varying schedules. Overall, any exercise is good exercise.

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the book are diverse. But you have to remember that this takes place in the 19th and 20th centuries when these things were not acceptable. And there are different cultures. It starts out in 1860’s England and I have a fictitious Prince of Whales that’s his third son. I’ve wiped out the Victorians, but it parallels all of the significant things during that time. It’s placed in London, Paris, Spain, Germany, Korea, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, India, the United States and on and on it goes. The characters are living real lives in spite of their sexuality. I think people will be surprised about their lives and how they deal with it.” “First Spouse of the United


—Albert Fulcher can be reached at



GAY SAN DIEGO Aug. 16-29, 2019

‘Werq the World’ to make landfall in San Diego Albert H. Fulcher | Editor “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tour “Werq the World” is heading to San Diego on Sept. 17. Produced by Voss Events, and “Drag Race” producers World of Wonder and VH1, the all-new production follows a team of intergalactic queens including Aquaria, Detox, Kameron Michaels, Kim Chi, Monét X Change, Naomi Smalls, Violet Chachki and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 11 stars Plastique, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and current reigning Yvie Oddly on their journey to the sun. “This is the largest drag production on the planet,” said Brandon Voss, the show’s producer. “The music, sets, fashion, choreography and lighting are all a cosmic feast for the senses. Audiences will be in awe as their favorite queens come together on some incredible numbers.” Season 10 queen Asia O’Hara will serve as host for the tour again this year in San Diego along with Michelle Visage as they guide the audience through the universe for a dynamic display. “This summer, I’m hitting the road with the baddest queens in the land … the land of season 11!” said Asia O’Hara. “All bets are off, and all rules are out the window as the queens show you what they are really made of! And of course, I’ll be safe behind the microphone.” “Werq the World is the official ‘Drag Race’ tour for a reason,” said Visage. “The show has always been a theatrical production of the highest caliber but in 2019, we have stepped it up into the

stratosphere. This show [will] leave fans gag-ging.” Yvie Oddly sheds some insights about herself and her journey through season 11. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your journey to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’? I am born and raised in the mile-high city, Denver, Colorado. I am a classically trained artist through Denver’s School of the Arts and found my audience through DRAG “The Art Form in the Queer Mind’s Eye.” I am a creature of the local club culture and strive to push boundaries with my looks and performances.

What has the exposure of ‘Drag Race’ done for you personally? It’s always been my dream to travel and perform. Thanks to the fans of ‘Drag Race,’ I am Odd Blessed and booked around the world! I’m looking forward to the tour hitting San Diego, what can you tell me about the tour show? Get ready for the best tour production you can imagine! The chemistry and raw talent and passion in our cast will come alive in its full glory. What should San Diego

expect with the touring show? San Diego should expect a wide variety, spice and flavor. Expect to be entertained! Is there a favorite part of the show that you are looking forward to? I always look forward to meeting the fans. Words can’t even begin to describe how magical it feels to connect with people all over the world through my vision in drag! What advice do you for the inspiring young drag queens? Quit drag!

Huehuehuehuehue! (laughs) Who do you like to perform with the most? I enjoy the unique chemistry I have with all my cysters. However, it’s no secret that Plastique and I are a legendary duo, with a dynamic contrast in our drag expression. The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Werq the World tour is playing at the Historic Balboa Theatre on Sept. 17 from 8-10 p.m. Tickets are $52-$162 and VIP packages are available. Visit — Albert Fulcher can be reached at

Asia O’Hara

Kameron Michaels (Photos courtesy Brandon Voss/Voss Events)

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michell Visage

Naomi Smalls

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Gay San Diego, Volume 10, Issue 17, Aug. 16-29,2019  

Gay San Diego, Volume 10, Issue 17, Aug. 16-29,2019

Gay San Diego, Volume 10, Issue 17, Aug. 16-29,2019  

Gay San Diego, Volume 10, Issue 17, Aug. 16-29,2019

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