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Page 19 December 15, 2010 • VOLUME 1 • Issue 47


Real Housewife Gets ‘Kandi-Koated’




Holiday Caring & Charity



The Boys and the Beach



Dudes Grand Opening



Ricky Martin Book Review


December 15, 2010 •

Local News

Verdugo, Hollywood Reach Accord on Fees T

By Matthew Clark he City of Hollywood Police Department has agreed not to pursue a claim for legal fees against former cop, Mikey Verdugo. Verdugo had been fired by the City for allegedly concealing on his employment application that he had done a porn shoot prior to his hiring. Even though he served on the force for eight years afterwards, earning accolades and honors, the department terminated his services. An arbitrator then upheld the firing. Attorney George Castrataro appealed the ruling, but Circuit Court Judge John Bowman affirmed the decision last month. The City of Hollywood then sought legal fees and court costs against Verdugo, arguing his case “was without merit.” In fact, Castrataro’s forceful argument in court dramatized how gays still face judicial bias against their actions and beliefs that straight employees would not face. But he acknowledged the “threshold test in overturning an arbitrator’s ruling is very difficult.” Hollywood City Attorney Joel Cantor and their police chief, Chad Wagner, had argued the importance of maintaining discipline and rigidity in their hiring practices. In the past few years, a number of their personnel had been arrested and convicted of falsifying records and being involved with drug deals. In an editorial last week applauding Castrataro’s pro bono undertaking, SFGN stated that Hollywood was unjustly seeking a “pound of flesh,” and should stand down, promising a strong chorus of protest if they failed to. “The accord reached by the City and Verdugo puts an end to their legal battles,” Castrataro stated. He noted that Verdugo prevailed earlier this year, in July, when the police training and standards board allowed him to retain his statewide certification, permitting Verdugo to still become a law enforcement officer anywhere in Florida. Stated Norm Kent, who acted as Castrataro’s co-counsel on his court appeal, “We should applaud the city for coming to its senses. Mikey’s cause had merit. Gays still face subliminal and invidious discrimination in the workplace and people who champion fights against it should be saluted, not censured.”

December 15, 2010 • Volume 1 • Issue 47

Editorial Offices 2520 N. Dixie Highway • Wilton Manors, FL 33305 Phone: 954-530-4970 FAX: 954-530-7943

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Chief Executive Officer Creative Director. . . . . . . . . George Dauphin Online Website Director. . . . . Dennis Jozefowicz

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Political Affairs Editor . . . . . . Jarrett Terrill Arts/Entertainment Editor . . . Mary Damiano SFGNites Editor. . . . . . . . . . . JW Arnold Business Editor . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Gary Senior Feature Correspondent. . . . . . . . . . . Jesse Monteagudo Adams Contributing Columnists. . . . Tony  Wayne Besen Penn Bullock AJ Cross Susan Estrich Brian McNaught Leslie Robinson Editorial Cartoonists. . . . . . . D  arryl Smith Steve Sack Calendar Editor. . . . . . . . . . . Matthew Clark

Sales Display Marketing Associates. . J ohn Fugate Brian Swinford Michael Vitureira National Sales Representative.Rivendell Media Distribution Managers. . . . . . J ohn Fugate, JR Davis, Walter Franco Printing and Publication . . . . Miami Offset South Florida Gay is published weekly on Wednesdays. Our paper is a member of the Associated Press. The views and opinions expressed within this publication, in bylined columns, stories, and letters to the editor are those of the writers expressing them. They do not represent the opinions of South Florida Gay, Inc., or the Publisher. They are included to promote free speech and diversity of thought. You should not presume the sexual orientation of individuals based on their names or pictorial representations in SFGN, and it would be careless to do so. For the sake of readable newswriting, the word “gay” in SFGN should, when relevant, be interpreted to be inclusive of the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. All of the material that appears in SFGN, both online at www., and in our print edition, including articles used in conjunction with our contract with the Associated Press and our columnists, is protected under federal copyright and intellectual property laws, and is jealously guarded by the newspaper. Thus, nothing published may be reprinted in whole or part without getting written consent from the Publisher of SFGN, at his law office, Kent & Cormican, P.A., 110 Southeast 6th Street, Suite 1970, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33301. SFGN, as a private corporation, reserves the right to enforce its own standards regarding the suitability of advertising copy, illustrations and photographs. Copyright©2010 South Florida Gay, Inc.

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December 15, 2010 •

South Florida Gets Into the Business of Holiday Caring and Charity

The Manor collected over 400 gifts for Kids-in-Distress at last week’s charity event.

By Jarrett Terrill


saw a mother and her child sitting on the railroad tracks just a couple weeks ago and it broke my heart,” says Oakland Park Vice-Mayor Suzanne Boisvenue. “There are a lot of homeless people in our area. I just want to encourage people to support the charity of their choice and take care of their friends, families and neighbors the best way they know how,” she says, “Every little bit counts.” Boisvenue is not the only person contemplating the less fortunate this holiday season, The Broward County Sheriff’s Department sent out a bulletin which reads, “A second cold weather blast is headed to South Florida. Cold weather shelters will be opening beginning Sunday overnight until Tuesday morning. For pick up points and shelter locations, please call 2-1-1 from anywhere in Broward County. As always, please reserve 9-1-1 for emergencies only.” Adrianne Reesey, also with the Sheriff’s Department Office of Community Involvement and the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition says, “This year, I’m looking at supporting the Kristi House’s Project Gold.” Project GOLD (Girls Owning Their Lives and Dreams) is dedicated to the healing and empowerment of girls 11-18 years old who are or have been exploited in the com-

mercial sex trade. Kristi House and Project GOLD can be found on the Facebook and the World Wide Web at “We put together what we call Dignity Baskets,” says Kathleen Cannon at the Broward House, “because many people who come to us just don’t have some basic things that they need.” The baskets can contain things like sweatshirts, socks, toothbrushes, and anything else an adult might be lacking when staying at the sober-living facilities with HIV. Cannon says you can donate individual items (new items only, not used) to be dispersed or complete a basket for a client yourself. To take part in this project, call the Broward House at (954) 522-4749 to locate a drop off location. A number of local businesses are getting into the spirit of giving as well. The Corner Pub on Andrews Ave. is doing a toy drive for “Toys For Tots” and some local websites are linking to the Names Project which sponsors the AIDS Quilt. So far here at SFGN, individual staff members have contributed or plan to contribute to the American Cancer Society, Tuesday’s Angels, The Trevor Project, The Victory Fund, The Norton Museum of Art, The Poverello Center, and various personal contributions to friends and family who have fallen on rough times.



December 15, 2010 •

Business Analysis

Local Realtor Forecasts 2011 Rick Gibson: ‘Positive Trends Ahead’ By Joey Amato


fter a dismal housing market in 2009, 2010 appears to have fared somewhat better. The market has seemed to stabilize with only some cities realizing further declines in home prices. Some have witnessed sharp climbs due to increased demand of bargain basement prices of housing. South Florida is still reeling from the crisis and SFGN sat down with Rick Gibson of Keller Williams Realty Professionals to discuss the situation. “In short, the market is in a state of tremendous change, with extreme hardships and incredible opportunities,” Gibson states. “We tend to hear more of the negatives, but the overall picture is quite positive and exciting, especially for buyers who benefit from rock

bottom prices and absurdly low interest rates. It may feel like chaos to many but it’s not.” One of the major positives for South Florida is demand is present. Many markets such as Las Vegas and Phoenix still suffer from the abundance of supply and lack of demand. “Everything is selling, but at different prices and speeds. Single family sales are up over 10 percent year-to-date compared to 2009, and over 35 percent compared to 2008 so homes are moving much faster. Condo sales are up too, but in both cases part of the reason is the prices are so low they have reached a point where buyers have stopped waiting.” Many investors are still skeptical about delving into the market, especially if they are looking to purchase a second home or investment property. There is however

a general consensus on the street that the market reached a bottom and prices will stabilize from here on in. “Smart investors and home buyers in general are busy, and foreign investors are quite aware of the opportunities and are adding to the increasing momentum,” Gibson tells us. “Prices moved up a bit in third quarter for single family homes, so there are indicators that tell us we are looking at stabilization, not disaster as some who favor gloom and doom would like to believe.” Foreclosures currently account for a large portion of home sales. In Orlando, foreclosure home sales accounted for nearly half of all third-quarter home sales according to a report by RealtyTrac, Inc. “Foreclosures can be great for buyers who like to do some of their own work, and want to start with a clean slate so to speak. Short sales take considerably longer to close, and there is

a higher risk they will not work out.” Gibson favors foreclosed properties if the buyer plans on occupying the residence. “There truly is a strategy and art to purchasing short sales and foreclosures, so having the right Realtor can make a big difference. The misconception that foreclosures or short sales are the best deals is not always true.” Gibson states that buyers have options in the current market. However Gibson states that a short sale is an extremely viable and good alternative to foreclosure default or bankruptcy if the homeowner is suffering from delinquencies. “The impact on credit scores can be lessened, is not permanent, and in some cases is easily worth the temporary effect. Finding a Realtor who has training or experience is important,” he states. One in every four homes in Florida is behind on their mortgage payments. However, “the next six months are likely to be excellent,” Gibson states optimistically. “We made it through the hurricane. This past month was extremely busy, so we anticipate a great 2011.” For more information on Rick Gibson, please visit


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December 15, 2010 •

National News

City of Atlanta Fined $1 Million Judge Rules Gay Bar Raid Illegal By Staff Reporters ATLANTA – A federal judge approved a legal settlement Wednesday requiring that Atlanta pay more than $1 million to people illegally detained during a raid on a gay bar, change police department policy and investigate the conduct of its officers. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten said that evidence in the case showed the plaintiffs were unlawfully searched, detained or arrested during a Sept. 10, 2009, raid on the Atlanta Eagle Bar. The judge said none of the plaintiffs were personally suspected of criminal wrongdoing. Greg Nevins, an attorney in Lambda Legal’s southern regional office, praised the

Atlanta Police Department will be a better force for good in the community,” Nevins said. “Nobody in this city should have to endure the inexcusable law enforcement conduct that occurred fifteen months ago at the Atlanta Eagle.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the city council approved the settlement earlier this month. Reed, who apologized to the people who filed the lawsuit, said he hoped the agreement will improve relations between police and the city’s plaintiffs in the case for stepping forward. The settlement effectively ends the lawsuit. “Because they did the right thing, the

gay community. “I believe that what occurred that evening should not have happened and should

not happen again,” Reed said. Police previously said they were responding to anonymous tips alleging drug use and sexual activity at the bar. Undercover officers reported visiting the club and seeing men having sex while others watched. The settlement requires that Atlanta police officers not stop people or search them for weapons without a reasonable suspicion or belief that they have committed a crime or are armed. Police must also document certain warrantless detentions and searches. The new policies prevent officers from stopping people from making photo, video or audio recordings of police activity so long as it does not stop police from doing their jobs. The agreement requires that uniformed police officers wear name tags and identify themselves upon request when interacting with civilians. The police department must rule on citizen complaints about police misconduct within 180 days and provide training every two years on the terms of the settlement. As part of the deal, the police department must investigate the conduct of the police officers involved in the raid and the rules that guided it. Witnesses who saw the raid will be allowed to testified.


December 15, 2010 •

Holiday Gift Idea

The Boys & the Beach


nternationally published photographer Max-Arthur Mantle’s first book, THE BOYS & THE BEACH, may become a Hot Holiday gift this season 2010. A 5-year project, shot on location in Miami Beach, it features 51 models from around the world, who are based in Miami Beach, New York and Los Angeles, and represented by the industry’s top agencies. The 160-page book is a refreshing visual celebration of diverse male beauty with a subtle and inviting eroticism, destined to be a must-have for seasoned photo book connoisseur and appreciators of male beauty. From cover to cover, the book features the finest replicas of the male species, frolicing in the sun,

sand and sea. The photos exude an alluring  youthful hedonistic appeal; a mixture of the lustful cariocas from Rio, the laid back pot-smoking surfer  from Hungtington Beach to the well-kept cabana boy on South Beach. Max-Arthur Mantle rose to international recognition, when in 2005, he shot the iconic last cover of BLUE+66 magazine, Australia’s premier male photo-art high-end glossy magazine. The book is available to purchase online only at www.

December 15, 2010 •



December 15, 2010 •

SFGN BRIEFS Mayor Seiler Appoints AJ Cross Johnny’s Manager Earns a Seat on Budget Advisory Board

By Joey Amato

On Tuesday, December 7, the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission unanimously voted to affirm Mayor Jack Seiler’s nomination of AJ Cross to the Fort Lauderdale Budget Advisory Board. Cross has been an integral part of the South Florida community for over a decade and his appointment is a testament to his outstanding business acumen and philanthropic spirit which he has demonstrated in recent years. Cross was quick to comment on his new position. “I am pleased and proud of this, my first step into public service and I intend to represent the City of Fort Lauderdale, our community and myself with great care and integrity. I am grateful for Mayor Seiler’s

confidence in me and I will not let him or anyone else down.” Mark Dickerman, a friend and colleague is credited for sparking Cross’s interest in politics. “He introduced me to City Governance and personally recommended me to Mayor Seiler.” Johnny’s Fort Lauderdale owner Sean David is proud of the accomplishment. “AJ joined my team a little over two years ago and it has been a dream team operation ever since, balancing creativity, drive and ambition to elevate Johnny’s to its current level of success,” he states. “This is not only great news for AJ, but for the entire LGBT community, as there will be another openly gay person involved in Fort Lauderdale City Governance.” David is confident that Cross will take on this vital role with great care and humility

and represent the community in the best way possible. “I wanted to become involved so that I could contribute in a way that would introduce me to the budgetary system of local government,” states Cross. “I plan on bringing my directness, curiosity, many years of business ownership and operations experience to this role, but I really want to learn from the many experienced Board Members currently serving.”

GAY MURDER IN HOUSTON Houston police are seeking a suspect in the murder late Friday night of Aaron Scheerhoorn, who was stabbed multiple times in front of several witnesses outside Club Blur in the gay Montrose neighborhood. The Houston Chronicle reports that police have determined the murder was not a robbery or a hate crime. They believe it

may have been a crime of passion. “The suspect pursued Aaron Scheerhoorn on foot in the 800 block of Hyde Park Boulevard late Friday,” reports the Chronicle. “Scheerhoorn had already been stabbed once when the pair arrived on the front steps of Club Blur on the corner of Pacific and Crocker around 11:40 p.m. “The suspect proceeded to stab Scheerhoorn several more times, including wounds to the chest, abdomen, forearm, left side and hand, authorities said.” Scheerhoorn died at a hospital. The Chronicle reports that police are seeking a suspect described as a “tall, black man between the ages of 25 and 30. He’s between 6 and 6½ feet tall and weighs about 200 to 225 pounds. He has short hair and was wearing a fitted orange or burgundy sweater with dark pants and dress shoes at the time of the slaying.”

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SAN FRANCISCO – A transgender woman on Thursday filed a claim against the California Department of Motor Vehicles, saying the clerk who handled her application for a new driver’s license sent her a letter at home calling her gender change a “very evil decision” that would condemn her to hell. Amber Yust, 23, said the clerk at the department’s San Francisco office processed her application for a license with her female name in October. She received the letter addressed to her old name, David, four days later. It identified the writer as the person who processed Yust’s application. “Although I helped you with the name change, I have to say I do not support the reason for it,” says the letter, signed with only a first name and typed on plain paper. “I also do not believe the state’s recognition of it – through official documents – makes it legitimate or any less evil.” Yust alleges the clerk used a state data-

iSlAnd city center • 2550 northeASt 15th Avenue • Wilton MAnorS, floridA 33305 base to find her home address. She said she also received a pamphlet from a New Yorkbased conservative Catholic ministry to whom she thinks the DMV clerk furnished her address. Yust took the first step toward suing the DMV by filing the claim stating that its employee’s actions violated her privacy and civil rights, and seeking more than $25,000 in damages. “Going into a DMV isn’t exactly a fun experience,” she said. “So to have someone who dislikes something about you or has some strange interest in you decide to use your personal information for something other than what it was supposed to is really scary. I want people to feel safe.” DMV spokesman Mike Marando declined comment on the matter because it involves pending litigation and a personnel matter. Marando said the department has been investigating Yust’s allegations since it was alerted six weeks go. For the complete article go to:

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Forest Trace ‘Where Everyday Feels Like a Vacation’ By Joey Amato


orest Trace offers the very finest resortstyle amenities and luxury services for active adults who want more out of life. Situated on 73 beautiful acres in Lauderhill, this scenic resort community defines excellence in service, facilities and accommodations, setting the standard for luxury resort adult living in Fort Lauderdale. Conveniently located just south of Commercial Boulevard between the turnpike and University Drive, Forest Trace features spacious one and two-bedroom apartments with balconies in a private, gated community. “When I developed Forest Trace about 20 years ago, this was a completely new concept,” says Stanley Rosenthal referring to his magnificent 55+ community. “We have a beautiful property and we wanted to try to provide people with a wonderful place to relax and retire.” Forest Trace is not a retirement village, but more like a luxury adult destination community. The property features a 30 acre lake with private dock, multi-purpose clubhouse, fully-equipped fitness center, heated Olympic-size swimming pool and complimentary golf at Inverrary Country Club located adjacent to the property. “In addition, we also created a partnership with the Grossinger family out of New York and created the Jennie Grossinger Theater, where top entertainment performs on a regular basis,” states Rosenthal. The theatre can seat up to 250 guests and may be considered the social epicenter of the property. In recent years, Rosenthal and his team at Forest Trace have made an overt effort to reach out to the gay and lesbian community.

“We realized there was an entire community which was evolving in Fort Lauderdale and had no place to enjoy their retirement outside of high-rise living.” Just last month, Forest Trace made a sizable donation of $25,000 to the Pride Center at Equality Park’s capital campaign, making the community a Star League contributor. “We wanted to show that we are gay-friendly and doing everything possible to reach out to and support the gay community,” Rosenthal tells SFGN. A large number of the staff at Forest Trace is gay as well. Local businessman Donn Rubin relocated from his condominium in East Fort Lauderdale this past October with his partner Steve. “Forest Trace has everything we were looking for in a community. The food, the maid service, the staff…it’s the total package,” states Rubin enthusiastically. “I think it’s very important to have a luxury community that openly welcomes LGBT residents, while at the same time offers so many benefits.” All of the 322 units are rentals and include all community amenities as well as breakfast and dinner each day. The dining experience at Forest Trace is parallel to a four-star restaurant. Dinner entrees may include filet mignon, red snapper or farm-raised chicken. All are accompanied by soup, salad, vegetables and dessert. Furthermore, all residents are treated to a daily happy hour. The grounds at Forest Trace resemble a nature preserve, with miles of tree-lined pathways, bird watching and fishing. For more information, please visit ForestTrace. com or contact 954.572.1800.

December 15, 2010 •

De Biase Brings ‘Fortitude’ to South Florida Alec Mopa to Headline 4-Day Festival


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By Joey Amato

one of the most giving people I had ever met, s founder and CEO of Centaur and I thought creating a foundation in her Entertainment, Nick De Bi- name that would continue to give charitably ase sure knows how to throw to others was a wonderful way to honor her a party. Since forming the Fort-Lauderdale memory. Before she passed away, I told her I based record company, De Biase has helped was going to do this as my last “gift” to her.” De Biase created The L Foundation in produce and distribute over her name as a non-profit and decided 140 albums and earned a to first produce a concert to Grammy nomination for raise funds. “After meetBoy George’s recording of ing with many of the “When Will You Learn.” powers that be in Fort “Centaur was the first record Lauderdale, I was convinced label to feature Madonna on a to expand this concept into an entire dance compilation album in the U.S.,” De Biase tells SFGN referring to the AIDS ben- weekend of events”, he states. “I called it Forefit album Dance With Angels. De Biase has titude because the word connotes strength, also recruited top recording artists includ- heart, determination, will power, courage, spirit and toughness – all ing Janet Jackson, Sting, words that also define us Tina Turner, and Gloria as a community” Estefan to appear on The proceeds from various albums. Fortitude will benefit “In the past few years, amfAR, The Foundation the label has created cusfor AIDS Research as tom compilations for Abwell as the Pride Center solut Vodka, Midori, Travand the Fort Lauderdaleelocity, the Human Rights Miami Gay & Lesbian Campaign, White Party, Film Festivals. Broadway Cares/Equity Kevin Frost, CEO of Fights AIDS, and Gay amfAR speaks of the Days,” De Biase states. event: “amfAR is pleased In addition, Centaur to be a part of Fortitude has created soundtrack weekend and we gratealbums for gay films infully appreciate the gencluding Latter Days, Kiss erous support of the the Bride, Circuit and LGBT community,” he We’re All Angels. said. “That support will De Biase has just help advance our efforts launched an LGBT film Alec Mapa to find a cure for HIV/ division and is now also distributing gay films in addition to working AIDS and to bring this devastating epidemic to with Ari Gold, Brian Kent, Jason & deMar- to an end.” Artists scheduled to appear include Alec co, Tony award winner Levi Kreis, and DJs Escape, all of which are signed to his label. “Cen- Mapa (Ugly Betty), Jennifer Coolidge (Letaur has been the largest LGBT record label gally Blonde, Best In Show, American Pie), since its start 13 years ago in 1997,” he states. Julie Goldman (Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show), This February, De Biase will produce For- and Martha Wash. More names will be antitude, a four-day long festival of gay musi- nounced in the coming weeks. cians, comedians and activities. “The concept for Fortitude started when both of my Fortitude will take place February 17-21, 2011. parents were dying from cancer at the end of For more information, please visit Fortitude2009,” De Biase states. “My mother Lydia was



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December 15, 2010 •

SFGN Editorial

December 15, 2010

John Lennon’s Vision Norm Kent, Publisher these words in our music issue. ‘Imagine’ is a call to peace in a time of war. There are presently still insane murders in America, riots in Haiti, and slaughter in Afghanistan. There is trafficking of children in India and torture in countries everywhere. We live our lives on a planet where we send men to space stations in the stars and treat eat other as animals at home. It’s a John Lennon Memorial in Havana, Cuba mad world, a sad world. Were only this Christmas a time of peace. Were only we all able to find peace ast month, on the occasion of John Lennon’s 70th birthday, I went and harmony in this Holiday season. Ironically, in Fidel Castro’s Cuba years to the Arsht Center in Miami to watch Rain, a musical group on tour in the ago, the Beatles and their songs were constates playing Beatles songs, still emotionally sidered ideologically unfit for their revocharging audiences decades after his unnec- lution. With the exception of clandestine parties where smuggled tapes aired their essary shooting. At the same time, in Liverpool, a John music at night, when the lights were out, Lennon peace monument was unveiled at their magic could not be heard. But even FiChavasse Park. It was commissioned by the del has had an epiphany about the Beatles. Global Peace Initiative, which wants to pro- He determined John Lennon was in fact a vide peace monuments on each continent. revolutionary hero, and the picture you see The legacy of John Lennon is peace and on this page is of a Lennon statue in a Haharmony, a great musician whose music has vana park. The world has come full circle, touched millions and millions of lives. You even in Havana, never a haven for members may not have been alive to see him, but you of the gay community. But Fidel Castro rehave heard his songs, and seen his legacy cently disclosed to La Jornada, a Mexican alive in cutting edge musicians who brave newspaper, that he regrets the persecuand buck the status quo. He was unique tion of gay Cubans under his regime. Times change, and people do with them. and independent. As many artists have, Lennon turned the John Lennon posed naked with his wife Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone. pain of his childhood into music which conJohn Lennon smoked dope. John Lennon veys important messages that turned our stood transfixed with his hands up in a heads, and the way we saw our lives. May we peace sign in front of the Statue of Liberty. all use this Holiday season to renew our own Declassified FBI documents have demon- spirit and turn our own hearts and head tostrated how the Nixon administration tar- wards caring for our community just a little geted Lennon for vocally opposing the US bit more than we have in the past. There is for our dominant participation in perpetu- much we can still do. We are only limited ating the Vietnam War. John Lennon sung by the boundaries of our imagination. And of peace in a time of war, and he lived a life John Lennon’s call was simply to ‘imagine.’ May you in this Holiday season find a cut all too short by a deranged gunman, murdered outside his home in the Dakota new meaning and tempered purpose to enbuilding, close to Central Park in New York. hance your own life and those of the people Last week, on his anniversary, we sa- you care most for. May you find it in the luted Lennon with a column by our own music of John Lennon or Lady Gaga, but Pier Guidugli. This week, I salute him with may you realize your dreams, visions, and


aspirations. May the words we publish in this paper also help you find comfort and meaning, purpose and direction. For our community, SFGN’s goal is to illuminate our lives in a credible, newsworthy and progressive way. We want to be the newspaper you can respect in the morning, pick up in a corporate board room in the afternoon, and discuss at home with your

partner in the evening. For entrepreneurs, SFGN’s goal is for our business to make you business, to enhance your pride and partnership with our industry and enterprise. As we move towards our 50th issue in this, our very first year, thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We hope it has been as enriching for you as it has been rewarding for us.

Letters, We Got Letters Comment on: Recent murders in South Florida DEAR EDITOR: The unsettling discoveries of two dismembered males, one right here in Wilton Manors and the other in Dania Beach, along with the murders of two gay men in Oakland Park should be of great concern to our community. Although we don’t have all the facts on the two men found in the canals, we do know some facts about the other two. Both were young black males who had criminal histories and were known in the community and open about their sexual preference. Until we get identification on the other two we can’t say that any are connected, but neither can we say they are not. The shooter in both Oakland Park killings has not been caught and there seems to be few clues. The other crimes are far more vicious and whoever committed those crimes is one angry, sick puppy. I think it would be a good story for the paper to think about

doing. There has been no further coverage on any of the murders by the media since the crimes occurred. We as a community need to stay vigilant and aware of what may be going on around us. Perhaps an overview of the crimes with as up to date information as possible along with a reiteration of some common sense safety guidelines would be a great community service, especially for visiting tourists who may know nothing of the crimes. My own personal feeling on these crimes is that they are related in some way, how I don’t know. I think we know that when it comes to gay men being killed we are not always at the top of the cops list of catching their man. The Drake Tower disappearances of at least 2 or 3 men over a period of years have never been solved. I would hate to see anyone have to suffer a lifetime of not knowing what happened to their son, lover or friend because police don’t connect the clues or just don’t make them a priority.

Jeff Barnes,Wilton Manors FL

December 15, 2010 •

Susan Estrich

What a Dame:

Remembering Elizabeth Edwards


don’t care what they said about her in “Game Change.” Bitchy? Who wouldn’t be? Difficult? She had a right to be. She lost a son. She stood by her husband as he pursued his political ambitions. He cheated and lied. She still stood by. She must have known. She chose to look away. Resilient? Maybe. Nuts? Almost surely. But in a world full of carbon copies of dutiful spouses, full of men who do it and women who silently take it, never the wiser, there was something honestly, refreshingly, painfully true about Elizabeth Edwards. The Edwards kids lost their mother. America lost a woman of valor. Elizabeth Edwards was easy to connect

with. You saw the early pictures, and you got it. She loved him. She continued to defend him. She brought gifts for his child. Is there a woman alive who cannot identify? Is there a heart that doesn’t break? According to news reports, he got takeout for visiting relatives as she lay dying. Useful, I guess. Elizabeth Edwards was not a perfect woman. Not even close. But through her imperfections, her losses, her pain and grief, her extra 10 pounds, her raw humanity, she touched a nerve in this country and especially in all of us, the women of her generation, who understood her compromises, tasted their bitterness and shared her ridiculous hopes.

General Gayety

Winging Their Way to Gayness By Leslie Robinson


cientists in Florida have discovered that when male white ibises eat too much mercury, they turn gay. Don’t blame an overbearing ibis mother. Blame the metal. Suspicious that mercury had led to lower breeding levels among the wading birds, researchers fed groups of ibises varying levels of mercury over three years. The results shocked the stuffing out of the scientists. The higher the mercury dose, the more likely a bird was to sing show tunes. These new Friends of Dorothy “pretty much did everything except lay eggs,” said study leader Peter Frederick to The Miami Herald. “They built nests, they copulated, they sat in the nests together.” They went to a lesbian flamingo therapist when no egg appeared. Male ibises with any mercury intake were more reticent to perform ritual courtship displays, causing numbers of female ibises to cry together over Cosmopolitans.

In the high-mercury birds, reproduction plunged 35 percent. Complaints from wannabe grandparents soared 65 percent. The mercury levels in the experiment mirrored those found in the birds’ natural wetland habitats. Frederick, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Florida, told Nature. com “the implication is that this is probably happening in wild bird populations.” Which means the wilderness is getting wilder. Not a good thing, in this case. These beautiful, long-billed birds are being poisoned into gayness. In wild populations of ibis with no mercury exposure, same-sex pairings don’t occur. Well, it probably happens once in a while, when the tequila is plentiful and the birds are bi-curious, but not as a rule. We should go with what nature intended. Let’s keep the ibises straight and the people gay! In south Florida, mercury leeched into

13 So it wasn’t to be. Big surprise. Tell me to ensure that he never ended up with her. John Edwards with Rielle Hunter, I mean. If something I can’t figure out. Knowing that, what would you do differ- Elizabeth could write it, if she could put her version down, perhaps it ently? Not marry him? Not would be enough – enough stand by him? Maybe nothhumiliation, if nothing else ing. What does that say? – to make him understand She did all kinds of things that whatever else he did, wrong. She didn’t get regular he could not end up with mammograms. I don’t know “her.” Or maybe not. why. She didn’t kick him out I don’t think I want to or give him the ultimatum or know how this turns out. choose to see through the lies No more glam shots in the the lawyer in her must have oversized white shirts while recognized as just that. You the wife is dying of cancer. see what you choose to see. Thanks, but no thanks. We She chose hope over comElizabeth Edwards don’t need a national soap mon sense. And how stupid was he? How stupid and opera. Most of us have enough of that withshortsighted and ultimately cruel for a man in our own families. The loss of Elizabeth Edwards, a woman who, my guess is, never meant to be any of those things, who ended up loving her, as he who stood tall and strong and should be always had, who ended up hurting her, hurting remembered for doing so, should be an occasion to remember just how fragile and his family, in ways he never meant to. When Elizabeth Edwards’ most recent tender and easily broken we human beings book, “Resilience,” came out, one of my are, and to remember just how careful one friends had a theory that its purpose was should be in the face of such fragility.

the thermometer, and the Everglades for made a date at the denyears, mainly from tist’s to convert all of Juthe burning of munior’s mercury fillings. nicipal and mediAnd if they hadn’t cal waste. Frederick already banned from said, “Most mercury the house the music sources are local rathof Freddie Mercury, er than global—local they have now. enough that we can Frederick also said do something about that what’s true for it, such as installing ibises isn’t necessarscrubbers on smoke A gay ibis cruising in the park ily true for other spestacks. Ecosystems respond very quickly to regulatory action cies, even other bird species. So jump to no conclusions about a couple of male green when it comes to mercury.” But how will the birds respond? If their herons that adore each other’s company. diet is cleaned up, will they revert to being Make no assumptions about the two rosestraight? If they need a little help, then by ate spoonbills with a passion for pomegranGeorge, we might’ve found an actual use for ate martinis. The turtles that hide during mating seaex-gay groups. Ex-gay leaders can take ibises under their wing and lead them back to son are simply shy. And the alligators that heterosexuality. The success rate can only agree they’d make lovely boots are just metrosexual. be higher than it is with people. I visited south Florida this past year, Speaking of people, Frederick frets that “people will read this and immediately and I watched ibises. I admit to my shame jump to the conclusion that humans eating that I didn’t notice any gay goings-on. mercury are going to be gay. I want to be This is probably because I can’t tell males very explicit that this study has nothing to from females. I needed obvious indicators of homosexusay about that.” Doubtless some parents have nonetheless ality. Now, had two canoodling birds sported purged their larder of tuna fish, tossed Prada shoes, I would’ve caught on.


December 15, 2010 •

International News

Global Initiative Seeks to Reduce HIV Levi Strauss Foundation Amongst Funders Staff Reporters


he Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) today announced the launch of an ambitious international initiative to address rising rates of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) by working to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence against this marginalized population. Supported by a consortium of funders, including ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Program, the Levi Strauss Foundation and Hivos, the landmark project signals a growing recognition of the connection between homophobia and the spread of HIV. “We are thrilled to announce this exciting new initiative on International Human Rights Day,” said MSMGF Executive Officer Dr. George Ayala. “Every person deserves

the right to fair treatment and freedom from persecution. The more we learn about HIV, the more we see that working to eradicate stigma, discrimination, and violence is essential to securing the right to health for MSM. Until recently, stigma and discrimination were not seen as serious drivers of the epidemic. This represents a major turning point, and we are proud to stand with our partners as we tackle this crucial issue head-on.” The technical assistance (TA) program will support grass-roots activists in Central America, North Africa and Southeast Asia with trainings and funding to develop and implement innovative rights-based advocacy projects. By building the advocacy capacity of local activists to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence against MSM, the

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initiative aims to reduce rates of HIV among this hard-hit group. “Beginning with an indepth assessment of local advocacy capacity, the program involves multiple levels of trainings tailored to the specific conditions in each target country,” said Krista Lauer, MSMGF Policy Associate. “Ultimately, the idea is to prepare a substantial number of local activists with the tools and resources they need to create locally relevant homegrown initiatives. While stigma and discrimination seem to be nearly universal, we believe a diverse set of locally-developed solutions presents the best hope to make a This photograph by Pep Bonet / Noor shows real impact,” Lauer said. O scar David Hernandez ‘La Morelia,’ a transsexual commercial A small but growing sex worker in Honduras who is HIV positive. body of literature indicates Photo courtesy of Flickr/Positive Lives. a strong connection becare facilities.” tween human rights violaMSM experience higher rates of HIV tions and negative health outcomes among sexual minorities. Past research among MSM than the general population in nearly every has linked experiences of social discrimina- country that reports reliable epidemiologition and violence with poor mental health, cal data. In many cases, these differences are increased substance abuse, and higher levels extreme. In Central America, for example, Honduras recently reported HIV prevalence of sexual risk-taking. A recent qualitative study conducted by rates of 12.4% among MSM, as opposed to the MSMGF among 39 MSM and transgen- 0.8% in the general population. On average, der people from 27 countries has added to MSM in low- and middle-income countries mounting evidence that even the most ba- are 19 times more likely to be infected with sic HIV prevention and treatment interven- HIV than the general population. “It is our hope that, through this initiations have been severely undermined by tive, we can address both the insidious stigma and discrimination. “Stigma and discrimination keep large problems of social discrimination and the numbers of gay men around the world skyrocketing rates of HIV in our communifrom accessing essential health resourc- ties,” said Dr. Ayala. “After all, without ades,” explained Michael Joyner, Director dressing one, we cannot address the other.” The new technical assistance program of Positive Action at ViiV Healthcare. “They just don’t feel welcome at health- will begin early next year.


December 15, 2010 •

Governor Elect Scott Asked to Prohibit LGBT Discrimination By A. Sebastian Fortino

him to think of all Floridians in making this he Palm Beach County Human executive decision. “By doing so on the day you take office, Rights Council (PBCHRC), which has served the needs of the LGBT you will assure all Floridians that the State of Florida is commitcommunity since 1988, ted to providing equal requested that goveremployment opportunor-elect Rick Scott’s nity in state governfirst executive order ment to all qualified in office will be to end individuals regardless discrimination in state of race, color, religion, employment. A similar sex, national origin, order was ignored by age, disability, sexual Charlie Crist, yet the ororientation, gender ganization hopes the inidentity or expression, coming administration genetic information, will be more receptive. pregnancy or marital “Unlike Charlie Crist, status.” who spent much of his As the repeal of life in the political areDADT, and the instina, Rick Scott has spent tution of the Employyears in the corpoRand Hoch ment Non-Discriminarate world,” said Rand Hoch, president and founder of PBCHRC. tion Act, are hot topics we can only hope “Rick Scott can take this opportunity to as- that Rick Scott will issue the executive order sure all state employees that under his lead- for the “common good” of the state. Simiership, they will be evaluated based on the lar executive orders have been issued in 30 basis of merit and fitness, as opposed to any states. non-job related factors.” The letter sent to the office of governor- For more information, and to read the full letter, elect Scott eloquently, yet strongly, urges please visit


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December 15, 2010 •

US House Increases AIDS Drug Funding by $60 Million By Staff Reporters Washington, DC – In a significant victory for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved an additional $60 million for the financially struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in fiscal year 2011. The increased funding was included in the bill that funds all federal programs for next year basically at existing levels, except in some minor instances. “We are pleased that the House recognized the severe need for additional emergency resources to the ADAP program and chose not to keep ADAP funding level next year, which would have been catastrophic”, commented The AIDS Institute’s Deputy Executive Director Carl Schmid. “Due to the high number of people who have lost their jobs and health insurance during the recent economic downturn, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS who must rely on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) has skyrocketed. At the same time, federal funding has not kept up with

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D)

growing demand, and state budget cuts have resulted in funding reductions”, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. “Given these constraints, I was pleased to see that the House version of the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution included an influx of $60 million for this critical program. It is my hope that the Senate follows suit, so that Americans living with HIV/AIDS, languishing on waiting lists, can get the treatment they so desperately need as quickly as possible.” ADAPs provide HIV-related medications to under insured and uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States or about one-quarter of the people with HIV/AIDS estimated to be receiving care in the U.S. ADAP is part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. As of December 2, 2010, there were 4,369 individuals in 9 states on ADAP waiting lists. In Florida alone, there are 2,311 individuals, or over half of all people on waiting lists. Several states are reducing their eligibility for their ADAP and in the process, actually disenrolling people from the program who are currently taking lifesaving medications. Florida has proposed to disenroll over 337 people from its ADAP early next year. As part of treating HIV/AIDS, daily adherence to medications is critical and interruptions can result in severe health outcomes and resistance to medications. “While this additional money will help states such as Florida with severe ADAP funding problems it is far from enough to keep up with the demand for ADAP medications,” stated Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. “What is worse is that other parts of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the parts that provide health care and support services to people with HIV/AIDS, will not receive any increases in funding next year.

December 15, 2010 •



December 15, 2010 •

It’s a Wonderful Benefit Johnny’s Benefit Supports Father Bill By A. Sebastian Fortino

!! U YO K N A H T ! ! T U O D SOL

“We need a lot of help and generosity despite the hard economy,” Cross added, asking attendees to donate at the event. “Hopefully people that can make larger donations will help us out. The car will be prominently parked outside of Johnny’s awaiting the news that we have reached our goal.” Entertainment, and a silent auction with goods totaling over $8,000 are part of the evening, hosted by Dale Madison of the Poverello Center and Russell of The Stable. In the classic holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life” we learn that when a bell rings an angel gets their wings. By donating to Father Bill’s fund for a new car you’ll know that every time the ignition is turned on you are helping people in need. Checks can be made out to Poverello Center, memo New Car.

Earlier this year Father Bill Collins lost his vehicle after an accident, since then he has continued his philanthropic work for those affected by HIV/ AIDS by taking cabs and organizing rides. “Father Bill is an icon in our community, the best example of what people have to offer,” said AJ Cross who initiated the December 20 benefit at Johnny’s, beginning at 8 p.m. “If anyone deserves a benefit like this it’s Father Bill. The amount of sponsorship is indicative of how much he cares for the community and in turn how much the community cares for him.” More than 40 LGBT businesses have become involved. The car has been reserved at a special rate with commitments from Autonation and Maroone Ford. In addition to the new car, a 2010 Ford Focus, three years of maintenance is promised, as well as a year’s worth of gas. A driver has also been orgaFor sponsorship contact AJ Cross at ajcrossconnized, as Father Bill no longer wishes to drive. or (754) 367-6366


December 15, 2010 •



Chuck Panozzo

The Heart & Soul of Styx


rguably one of the greatest rock bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s, Styx has left an indelible mark in music history. The band achieved superstar status with hits including “Babe”, “Lady” and “The Best of Times”. I had the honor to catch up with founder and bassist, Chuck Panozzo before Styx performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Music City USA. “This particular tour will focus on two of our greatest albums,” Panozzo states. The band played The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight in their entirety later that evening to a near sold-out crowd in Nashville. “We’ve never done this before in the entire history of the band, so it has really been interesting. The crowd has been very receptive.” Although some of the bands largest hits aren’t included in the set list, the show features standouts and crowd favorites “Come Sail Away”, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”, “Renegade” and show closer, “Too Much Time on My Hands”. Panozzo just played Memphis two nights prior and was gearing up for tonight’s show before flying to Atlanta to meet the band.“We are trying to bring people back in time,” says Panozzo, who performs on a parttime basis with the band due to health reasons. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and opts to sit out on about 20% of the band’s performances. “I still remember the first guy who I knew that contracted HIV,” Panozzo recalls. “There was a point in my life where I just looked and felt terrible.” His friends pleaded with Panozzo to seek help, both medical and psychological. Days would pass where the once energetic rock star would barely eat, yet alone leave his house. “I said to myself, ‘how can I live this way’? It took me a while, but I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.” For the next eight years, Panozzo would not perform with the band he co-founded with his brother John in the 60’s. Panozzo’s time away from the band wasn’t the only blow they would encounter. In 1996, during his hiatus with Styx, he and the band suffered another loss, the passing of his brother and drummer John Panozzo. The band dedicated their 1996 Return to Paradise tour to John. A few years later, Shaw penned the song “Dear John” as an ultimate tribute to him.

Felling the itch to tour again, Panozzo called up the band and asked them to perform. “I decided to pull an Elvis and make my comeback show in Vegas.” In 1999, Styx was set to play two nights at the Las Vegas Hilton. “The band told me to sit out the first night and watch the performance. And then if I felt in good health, they wanted me to join on the second show.” The following evening, some fans caught a glimpse of Panozzo waiting in the wings and started chanting his name. “Before I played a single note, the entire crowd was chanting ‘Chuck’…’Chuck’. It was one of the most emotional times in the history of Styx.” The outpouring of support from the fans as well as long time band members Tommy Shaw, James ‘J.Y.’ Young, was overwhelming. “Tommy said to me ‘I thought I’d never see you alive again’. He’s been the most supportive of anyone.” On tour, Shaw will routinely ask Panozzo if he needs assistance with anything. “He’s only 5’6”, but has a huge heart,” Panozzo laughs. Two hours into our interview, Styx’s road manager George called out to the band to get ready for the show. I stand and watch Tommy, J.Y., Ricky, Larry,Todd and Chuck take the stage for the opening number. From start to finish, the band drives home a hard rocking performance. Many people forget that despite their commercial success, at its core, Styx is still a rock band. Now that the tour is drawing to a close,Panozzo talks about plans for next year.“Styx has a long history of touring with other major acts,” remembering tours with Bad Company, Boston and REO Speedwagon. In 2011, the band will embark on a European tour with Journey and Foreigner.“There was a time when we were all competing for the spotlight, but now, all of our egos are gone and we enjoy each other’s company.” In his 40-plus year history with Styx, Panozzo has played two Super Bowls, toured the world and sold over 50 million albums. His autobiography “The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies, and My Life with Styx” was released in 2007.The introspective look into his life tells about his struggle to come to terms with himself, life on the road with Styx and being raised in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood. “I wanted to inspire others, gay or straight, to live a proud, truthful life.” For more on Chuck Panozzo and Styx, please visit


December 15, 2010 •

Night Club

Nightlife by J.W. Arnold

Dudes on the Beach

Come Sail Away… from the Holiday Madness

2370 NE 33rd Street, Fort Lauderdale 954-568-7777


If you’re not familiar with Drag it Out, it’s the non-profit charitable group that raises money by helping others explore and expand the traditional definitions of gender. Founder Tabatha Mudra recruited “pros” to help girls and guys alike find their inner kings and queens.The show begins at 10 p.m. and there is no cover.

f Peter Burke’s monthly gay tea cruise Saturday, Dec. 18 just doesn’t adequately answer your call of the e all love Judy sea, he’s got the soluGarland and tion. Escape all the hustle young singer and actress and bustle of the holiday Ann Marie Olson is season this weekend on uncanny as the gay icon. a gay two-night cruise to Olson and her mentor, the Bahamas aboard the Jeff Hess, present a Celebration, sailing out of Judy Garland in The Palm Beach.The only lines Holiday Show at Mustang you’ll be fighting will be to Lounge in Bill’s Filling the dinner buffet and the Station tonight at 8 p.m. Judy says “Have yourself front of the stage, where a merry little Christmas” Jeff, who is an instructor Burke has lined up some at New World School of of the region’s top performers.Who knows the Arts by day, will be at the piano playing – you might even get your stocking stuffed a Christmas favorites starting at 6 p.m. little early.The cruise departs Saturday, Dec. Sunday, Dec. 19 18 and returns Monday morning, Dec. 20, so you can still make it to work. Bon Voyage! oys are taking it off tonight at the South Here’s a look at some of the fun occurBeach stalwart,Twist, Pussilla is the ring this week across South Florida: mistress of ceremonies for the weekly amateur strip contest and DJ Paulie is in the Wednesday, Dec. 15 booth.Which hotties will take to the stage to take home the coveted $100 prize? Find hristmas is the season of giving (and out at 1057 Washington Ave.There’s never a we’re not talking “gifts that keep on cover at Twist. giving”), so stop by Bill’s Filling Station tonight for the popular Wilton Manors bar’s Monday, Dec. 20 annual holiday toy drive and customer appreciation party. Bring a new, unopened toy for he Poverello Center’s founder, Father a local, deserving child at Kids in Distress.The Bill, needs a new car and the boys at party gets started at 5 p.m. with a compliJohnny’s are stepping up with an extravaganza mentary buffet served at 7 p.m. and special gala fundraiser tonight. In addition to the excitChristmas shows at 8 and 10 p.m. Bill’s is at ing performances by the dancers at Johnny’s, 2209 Wilton Dr. there will be plenty of opportunities to support the mission of Poverello, which provides Thursday, Dec. 16 food and services to local residents living with HIV/AIDS.The party gets started at 8 p.m. at hursdays are ladies’ nights at MOVA 1116 W. Broward Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Lounge, just off Miami Beach’s trendy Lincoln Rd.The cool cocktail lounge serves Tuesday, Dec. 21 up half price drinks from 11-12 p.m. and DJ Zehno is in the booth dishing out the latest artini Tuesdays, the monthly South sounds. MOVA is located at 1625 Michigan Ave. Beach cocktail party hosted by Edison Farrow, returns tonight with an Friday, Dec. 17 official after party following a special preview screening of Jim Carrey and Ewan Mchristmas gets kinky tonight at New Gregor’s gay prison love story,“I Love You, Moon, 2440 Wilton Dr., when the Phillip Morris.” We caught a press preview gender-bending members of Drag It Out and think you’re gonna love this one! present “A Classy, Nasty Christmas Carol.”


Dudes on the Beach

Gentleman’s Club Restored to Former Glory By Joey Amato


n Friday, December 17, Dudes on the Beach will celebrate is regrand opening with a spectacular evening filled with food, entertainment and of course, hot male dancers. Gannon Woekel, co-owner of Dudes is excited to restore the

bar to its old splendor. The celebration will begin at 5:00 p.m. and last until closing. In addition to a new sound and lighting system, Dudes features beautiful dark wood furnishings, a grand bar and updated fixtures. The establishment is the only venue of its kind located on Fort Lauderdale beach. “We spared no expense,” Woekel states. “We have restored the bar to its old glory and look forward to sharing the space with the community.” The bar will also bring back its famous 2-for-1 happy hour specials twice daily from 4:00 – 9:00 and then again from midnight until close. “We pride ourselves in delivering the best experience, service and a higher quality of dancers than other local establishments,” Woekel states. Woekel is no stranger to nightlife in South Florida. He earned his wings at establishments including Paragon, the Shore Club and Coliseum before joining the staff at Dudes in 2005. He ultimately became the manager of the bar before purchasing it earlier this year. “The old ownership wanted to sell to pursue other ventures, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to step in,” he states. Woekel’s business partner, Jacques is a native of Montreal, Canada and has even had the pleasure of meeting Pop John Paul II. He is excited over the opportunity to be a part of Dudes. “Our concept is to provide a sophisticated New York style lounge, which turns into a gentleman’s club in the evening,” he states. Although the bar has not yet officially celebrated its grand opening, Dudes has already contributed to many local charitable organizations including SMARTride, the Poverello Center, Broward House and Kids in Distress.








December 15, 2010 •



Kandi Koated!

An Interview with Atlanta’s Real Housewife

By Joey Amato


hether singing, songwriting, running her Atlanta-based clothing store T.A.G.S., raising her adorable daughter Riley, running her own production company or showcasing her life on the insanely popular Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi does it with trademark tenacity and an unstoppable grind. “I am giving you a little taste of me,” says Kandi of her hotly anticipated sophomore album, Kandi Koated. “When I think of candy coated, I think of adding a little sugar to something and making it better.” And that’s exactly what the artist, who is currently on tour with American Idol winner Fantasia, does with everything she touches. “Whatever I think of and decide on, I do it,” she says with a charming confidence. Her quiet storm like drive propelled Kandi from a member of the 1990’s super group Xscape to an extremely respected songwriter on the speed dials of every music

label CEO and President. “After Xscape broke up, I promised myself that I would never be in a situation again to where I was financially dependent on one thing or other people’s actions. That’s when Tiny and I started writing songs for our own album,” she says. “One of them was “No Scrubs.” After landing on music mogul LA Reid’s desk, the song became one of TLC’s biggest hits and earned a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for a Duo or Group with Vocal and a nomination for Record of the Year. “Executives from the labels started calling me on a first name basis.” Kandi went on to write the #1 “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug A Boo” for Destiny’s Child and several other hits for Pink, NSYNC, Usher, Boyz II Men, Fantasia and Whitney Houston. Kandi is the first African American woman to win the prestigious ASCAP “Songwriter of the Year” award (2000) and the first woman ever to win ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Music Award (2000).

“When I started writing songs, I knew I wanted to take it to another level.” Kandi remembers, “I always wanted to also be a business woman because being creative is not enough to keep your life flourishing.” Her passion for life and business led her to reality television. Originally a member of the cast of the show that eventually aired as “Tiny & Toya”, Kandi was dropped, only to gain a starring role on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. “Everything happens for a reason and the show has been great for me,” Kandi says. “But, in the beginning I had my doubts.” Kandi Koated is set to become one of the most anticipated albums this season. “The album is about love, relationships. It’s meeting someone. Falling for them. Falling out with them. Breaking up with them. Thinking about them. Getting back together. Moving on. It’s all there,” she says of the project. Ne-Yo collaborated with Kandi on most of the project, which includes the catchy “Me and You,” written and produced by Ne-Yo, and sampling the Outkast classic “Elevators.” Although many of the tracks on Kandi Koated are meaningful, “Leroy

Jones” is the most personal to Kandi. “The song is about being a positive role model. I’m a single mom and any man I meet has to love me and my daughter like his own. This song is about where I am right now as a woman. If I can find a man like that, then I am good,” she tells SFGN. Kandi’s long-time friend Jazze Pha collaborated on the soulful and explosive “Leave U” and she reinforces the importance of respect with “I’m Happy”. Up-tempo and aggressive, “How Could You (Feel My Pain)” is an incredulous look at her lover’s actions while “Lucky” is a look at the real-life situation of cheating. “I knew I had to come back strong. I waited way too many years to return with something wack,” says Kandi, who began writing the tracks about a year ago, during her relationship with the now deceased AJ Jewell. “I love this album. It’s not stuck in a box.” In the future, Kandi would love to collaborate with fellow artist Kanye West.“I’d love to just pick his brain and see how he thinks.” For more information, please visit Myspace. com/kandionline.


December 15, 2010 •


Christina Aguilera: Can’t Hold Her Down Singer makes big-screen debut in one of the gayest movies of the year, Burlesque PHOTOS COURTESY OF Screen Gems

By Chris Azzopardi


hristina Aguilera’s career is built of bold moves – be it the “Beautiful” video, with its tight shots of men making out, or musically shifting from shameless pop to futuristic mode, as she did on this year’s album Bionic. The powerhouse vocalist, who turns 30 in December, takes the plunge again with her first film, Burlesque, playing not some rinky-dink character, but the lead. “My goal wasn’t to star in a leading position but be part of a great film and have a couple of lines and get my feet wet – boy, that didn’t happen!” says Aguilera, who plays Ali, a girl with dreams too big for her small town. After shooting down many scripts, Aguilera felt a special connection to Burlesque, writer-director Steven Antin’s first major movie that he describes as “a call-back to the old, fabulous MGM musicals.” She already knew the art form well, too: “I have

a collection of burlesque books at home that I’ve had for years,” she says. “I’ve just always been intrigued and fascinated with the topic, and the beauty and heart and comedic value of it. It’s a beautiful, empowering thing for women.” Promoting the film at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., with her dog Stinky in tow, Aguilera slurps some chicken noodle soup – pausing at one point to scold her assistant because it isn’t up to snuff. “Soup drama,” she jests with a delicate smile. However edgy Aguilera is, it’s no wonder: she’s dealing with a divorce (she and Jordan Bratman filed in October) and, after Bionic bombed, working to find her place in the pop landscape again. Now there’s the gamble of Aguilera’s first film, one that was admittedly more than she bargained for. “I was wearing so many different hats – more than anybody else on the film,” she

says of writing and recording several songs, learning a different dance form and then, of course, actually acting for the first time. It helped that Aguilera related to Ali, who leaves behind a troubled past in Iowa and stumbles into a swanky Sunset Strip burlesque club run by Tess (Cher). “Her background story came from a place inspired by pain,” Aguilera says of her character. “Lots of people talk about their situations and complain, but they never do anything about it. The thing about Ali that I love is that she makes the decision to leave, and that’s really hard. It really spoke to me.” That’s not all that locked in Aguilera. Antin and Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper, partners on Burlesque and in life, eventually nabbed one of the biggest superstars ever: Cher. Aguilera wasn’t about to miss out on this little diva, big diva moment. “It’s so weird to say this about the icon and the legend that is Cher, but she’s like

an old girlfriend,” Aguilera says. “She’s an incredible person personally and professionally, offering amazing advice, stories, ‘been there done there.’ She’s one of a kind.” Antin thought highly of Aguilera too, calling her “the voice of a generation” as he spoke about Burlesque in Beverly Hills. From the get-go, the Grammy-winning singer was his first choice to fill the underdog role. Throughout the 71-day shoot, Antin and the cast worked out huge set ideas and infinitely smaller touches, like the flower Aguilera wears in her hair during the “Bound to You” number – something Antin opposed, but Aguilera and Culpepper rooted for. “Little things like that, to very big things, were a constant conversation and collaboration,” she says. For the complete article on Burlesque, go to:


December 15, 2010 •

Simply Cher Legend talks film comeback, being a gay icon and son Chaz By Chris Azzopardi


hey don’t make ’em like Cher anymore. The superdiva, and queen of all gay icons, has been able to successfully pull off singing and acting throughout her nearly 50-year career – and she does both in Burlesque, her long-awaited return to the big screen out Nov. 24. Cher’s role as Tess, an L.A. club owner who gives a small-town girl (Christina Aguilera in her acting debut) a shot at fulfilling her dream as a singer, is the Oscar winner’s first major part since Tea with Mussolini over a decade ago. “Tess is a character who, in the face of great adversity, manages to pull herself up by her bootstraps and rise like a phoenix – and that is Cher,” says writer-director Steven Antin, who nabbed the actress for his big-budget film debut. Breaking from her Las Vegas show at Caesars Palace, which closes in February after three years, Cher coolly strutted into a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., with a big smirk and an off-theshoulder sequined shirt – proof that the legend’s not letting her 64 years get in the way of sustaining her sexiness. Sitting in was Stanley Tucci, who plays her gay assistant and pal (much like the actor did in The Devil Wears Prada, alongside Meryl Streep). The two stars laughed a lot over the dirty texts they shared and the scenes they shot together. Cher also talked about her indecisiveness over doing Burlesque, why gay men adore her, and shooting an “It Gets Better” video with daughter-turned-son Chaz Bono. There’s no question that this is an incredibly gay movie. Cher: (Laughs) One guy said, “This is gay Fantasia!” How does this rank among the gayest things you have done in your career? Cher: Not even anywhere! It doesn’t even rank. I don’t think of it as a gay film, but of course gay guys love musicals. And

it’s fun! Gay guys like to have fun, and so I think that’s what it is. Do they, Stanley? Stanley Tucci: How would I know? (Sarcasm) Cher: He’s just an actor! You’ve played gay now for Cher and Meryl Streep. Who’s the better boss? ST: (Points to Cher) Well, she’s much nicer. Cher: That’s right – Meryl was horrible! (Both laugh) Gay men have always been a big part of your career. Can you reflect on that? Cher: I’ve said this many times, but I think gay men either love you or they don’t even notice you’re alive on the planet. And if they do love you they kind of stick with you through thick and through thin, even when you’re not popular. They recognize kindred spirits that don’t really fit into society, either. And, of course, there’s sequins. Cher, we haven’t seen you onscreen in a long time. What about Burlesque drew you back? Cher: You know, I just wanted to sing. I wanted to sing in a film. It was my heart’s desire from the time I was about 4, so that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want the film (at first); this was a process. I thought that (Tess) could be a good role. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted in the beginning, but she did turn out to be who I thought she should be. What do you love about Tess? Cher: She’s my kind of girl. I love that she’s working really hard and she’s not getting anyplace but she’s not giving up. I love the relationship she has with all the (burlesque) girls and with him (Tucci). For the complete article on Cher, go to:



December 15, 2010 •

Milk of Human Kindness World Premiere Play Focuses on Lesbian Parenthood By Mary Damiano


he relationship between a lesbian mom with a newborn and a Jewish Orthodox lactation specialist are at the center of Goldie, Max & Milk, a comedy by Karen Hartman making its world premiere at Florida Stage in West Palm Beach. Goldie, Max & Milk tells the story of Max, (Erin Joy Schmidt) a single lesbian who has just given birth and is having trouble nursing. The hospital puts her together with Goldie, (Deborah L. Sherman) an Orthodox Jewish lactation consultant. To add to the mix, Max is unemployed and living in a house that is falling apart, her ex girlfriend Lisa (Carla Harting) has decided to return to the straight world, the baby’s father Mike (David Hemphill) is Lisa’s brother and Goldie’s teenage daughter Shayna (Sarah Lord) is growing fond of Max as she questions her own sexuality. Hartman began writing Goldie, Max & Milk in 2008, after having a child. At the time, she had completed Goliath, a play which follows a right wing Jewish settler and her family in the Gaza Strip during the Israeli pullout of 2005. She wanted to continue to explore tension between opposite points of view, but didn’t have time for research. “Once I hit on the idea of an Orthodox Jewish lactation consultant and a single lesbian mom, I just started laughing, which seemed like a good sign,” Hartman says. Hartman had been in a long-term relationship with a woman, and although

the couple discussed starting a family, they broke up without having children. “I was also imagining a kind of worst case scenario about what might have happened, legally and emotionally, if she and I had had a child before splitting up,” Hartman says.

“I wanted to write about the way homophobic laws create horrible confusion if a relationship breaks up, a subject I unfortunately know something about. The play is inspired in part by imagining what it would have been like to add custody issues to a difficult split.” Controversy has been a running theme through Hartman’s work. “For me, writing is all about opening the conversation,” says Hartman. “I want to cover subjects people haven’t heard about or don’t want to hear about. I want to humanize people that can otherwise be

Theatre Feature Goldie, Max & Milk runs Dec. 17 through Jan. 16 at the Rinker Playhouse at Kravis Center. For tickets and more information, call 561-585-3433 or visit

very tuned into the material and also dynamic, truthful performers. The director, Margaret Ledford, is wonderful. The folks at Florida stage, Lou Tyrell and Nancy Barnett, seem to trust us completely—I hope we prove them right.” Ledford appreciates the advantage of being able to ask the playwright for clarification. “It is not like I can ring Mr. Shakespeare or Mr. Pinter and get an answer; those you have to dig for from other people’s viewpoints,” Ledford says. “Here, I only have to turn to my left and say, ‘Karen, what does that mean?’ You also get a lot more back story, other versions.You are also able to see the evolution of a play, which is pretty great. Ledford believes that Goldie, Max & Milk raises some important questions. “I think if the audience can walk away asking the questions: Who do you call your family? To whom do you pray? and What is the best way to honor yourself in relationMargaret M. Ledford, who also directed the ship to those around you? Then, I think they reading last spring. Ledford says she was atare taking away the essence of what this tracted to the play through the characters. marvelous play has to offer,” she says. “They are funny, sincere and fully Hartman hopes the audiences who see it fleshed,” Ledford says. “Each character has will feel less alone. a journey in this play and as an audience “Goldie, Max & Milk is an intimate story member I think you might know one or about an experience, which can be very more of these characters, identify with lonely precisely because it’s private—the them and enjoy the ride they take.” rough parts of the first few days of parentHartman has been at Florida Stage throughout the rehearsal process, doing re- hood,” she says. “I hope the play raises writes and making adjustments in the script. questions for everyone, parents or not, about the limits of love, and the times when “I’m so grateful for this experience,” those limits crack wide open.” Hartman says. “The cast is extraordinary, dismissed as stereotypes.” Goldie, Max & Milk was presented in a staged reading last spring at Florida Stage’s 1st Stage New Works Festival and is now making its world premiere as part of the theatre’s regular season.The production is directed by

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December 15, 2010 •



December 15, 2010 •

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Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook Celebrates Our Country in Song


By A. Sebastian Fortino


f you have someone on your list that loves American Music, or Americana for that matter, consider Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook a three part, two-disk documentary which originally aired on PBS this past October. Instead of a concert, as Mr. Feinstein does many per year, this is a documentary highlighting the music which has become ingrained into the fabric of our society. What person can honestly say they hate Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong when their iconic voices float through a speaker at a party, or restaurant? Of course Feinstein plays music throughout the three episodes – but music is his life. We also see how obsessed he is with the genre, and get glimpses into his personal life. Feinstein recently married long-time partner Terrence Flannery. In one scene we see Flannery setting up for a dinner party, talking about how many hours Feinsten stays in his studio – recording, practicing, and researching “new” songs which might be a century old. Feinstein also takes us along to meet his friends, who share his love of American music.Viewers are given a glimpse of their extensive collections of rare music and

unique recordings. The two-disk collection splits one disk into three distinct eras of American music. Episode 1 – concentrates on the 1950s and 60s, an era in which American standards had to be reinvented to keep up with new tastes in music. Episode 2 – examines how music provided the country with both patriotism and escapism during WWII. Episode 3 – goes back to the 1920s and 30s when radio, records, and “talking pictures” reinvented the way Americans appreciated music. The other disk is a twohour collection of bonus material that is also fun to watch. Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, like a Cole Porter tune, is as much an exploration of the American spirit, as it is our music. For more information, please visit michael-feinsteins-american-songbook


December 15, 2010 •

everything from classics to the traditional,” he explains. The program will begin with the “HalleluHome for the Holidays jah” chorus from Beethoven’s oratorio, “The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida Mount of Olives,” and is followed by several Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m. traditional choral works, including Gustav Sunshine Cathedral MCC Holst’s “Christmas Day,” the German carol, 1480 SW 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale “Stille, Stille, Tickets $25 at or 954-851-2299 Stille,” spirituals, and Roger 8 p.m. at the Summers’ Sunshine “Shepherd’s Cathedral. Gloria,” which “It’s been a Roberts says big challenge,” Chorus Makes Holiday Debut commented “sounds like Handel, but Roberts. “But it’s not.” I’m thrilled By J.W. Arnold Roberts and humbled eartwarming carols are an also warns important part of the Christmas to (lead the that the program is not “heavy”: “There chorus). Our guys really want to do well… holiday season and the Gay they’ve given their all and really stepped up.” will be plenty of fun stuff, funny gay stuff, Men’s Chorus of South Florida, which was even touching gay stuff, but we will close For the debut performance, entitled, formed just months ago, plans to debut this the second half with a piece called ‘Heavy “Home for the Holidays,” Roberts proweekend with a performance of the most grammed an eclectic selection of music, from Christmas’.” beloved songs of the season. But “Heavy Christmas” is anything but Artistic Director Gordon Roberts and 75 traditional carols to choral classics. heavy, he reassures, presenting a medley of “Everything we’re doing really shows singers formed the chorus this fall after leavfamiliar opera tunes set to Christmas lyrics. ing another local group and immediately set off the chorus as a ‘chorus’, so we’re doing

Holiday Concert

challenging goals for the new organization. The singers have followed a rigorous rehearsal schedule—Tuesday evening full chorus, Wednesday night sectionals, and special Saturday rehearsals—with their upcoming Christmas concert in sight. The results of their efforts will be heard on Friday and Saturday Gordon Roberts evenings at

A Musical Gift to South Florida


Tiffany Perkins: Steele, Sweat, and Torche By A. Sebastian Fortino


culpture, unlike a painting or “wallmounted” piece of art invades our space where it demands to be looked at. The viewer does not merely look at the sculpture but must contemplate its weight, dimensions, gravity, and mass. Local sculptor Tiffany Perkins, whose artistic moniker is Torche, is a young artist who works with mostly found metal objects, which she twists, turns, and welds into desirable forms. Recently, she was featured in a show that coincided with Miami’s famed Art Basel. The show Juxta_positions featured a work she did in bronze entitled “Heart.” She met another female welder, Sandra Garcia, who sent out a call for artists to present in the show at her Wynnwood gallery. About 50 works were represented although more than 150 artists answered the request for submissions.

and when I leave I am filthy and exhausted, but I feel like I’ve made something. If I do something small I think I would be more frustrated, but with metal I can let it all out because it’s so physically exhausting, yet fun,” she said of the roughly 25 pieces of “It was my five year plan to be in a Miami large-scale sculpture that she has created. In addition to work featured in Miami, show during Art Basel. I was just amazed at she is also part of the Art Serve Holiday it,” said Perkins. “That was when I was just getting into welding. I was working in mixed Member Showcase, running now through January 8, 2011 and has an exciting event media before that.” taking place next week. The event, a party Mixed media, according to Perkins is meets art show, “Torche: Inside the Artist” a faster process in which it is easier to will not be a traditional gallery experience. project your emotions and feelings into a piece of art, while sculpture takes a lifetime Torche hopes to demystify and educate viewers about the process of creating art. to master. Due to the immediacy of mixed media those pieces are usually on feminine Successful artists are seen by non-artists as topics, and issues concerning women. When having some sort of divine ability to create, working with her torch it is a different kind and neglect to realize artistic vision alone does not an artist make. of artistic involvement and release, as it is “I want to show viewers the genesis physically demanding. Torche even delights in picking out the scrap metal at local junk- of the project, as if they went with me to yards. She tips “the guys” who help her get the junkyard and were with me during the entire process of making the sculpture,” her often cumbersome metal scraps with said Torche who will also have on display beer and whiskey. sketches and video to visually engage the “Today,” Torche smiled lightheartedly over coffee at Java Boys, “I was torching and viewers. “I want people to know there are moments when I get stuck. When I don’t I burnt my leg. Welding is hot, dangerous

THE MUSIC ISSUE “There’s not a tune in there that audiences won’t recognize. Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (“2001: A Space Odyssey” theme) sets the mood and we finish with the ‘1812 Overture’,” says Roberts. Don’t expect Roberts and his dedicated singers to rest long once he gives the final cut-off.The group is developing a board of community leaders, hopes to hire a development director to help make the organization more financially stable and plans to recruit more singers.The goal for the next concert is to perform with 100 members, although Roberts thinks the region can support an ensemble of as many as 200 singers, like many of the major gay choruses across the country. He also praises the support of the chorus’ new home, the Sunshine Cathedral: “We have a partnership made in heaven. It usually takes a long time for an organization to come up with the money to have a ‘home’ and the cathedral was built with a chorus in mind, a concert grand piano and wonderful organ, and the facilities to record CDs and DVDs. We’re very lucky.”

want to go to the studio. When I have to rethink the whole project.” The event promises to be a fun evening, which will offer live music and wine to guests, educating viewers as well as Torche. The project is a self-described trial run of her thesis, for her Masters in Fine Arts which she is earning from the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale. When asked about role models Torche cites artists like Louise Bourgeois, but not necessarily as masters whom she looks to for inspiration. “I’m inspired by artists that really made art because they wanted to be artists, that’s what I admire. Because, I already know that I want to do this job every day.”

Art “Torche: Inside the Artist” Friday, December 17 7 to 11 p.m. 888 NE 30th Court Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33334 For more information please visit and


December 15, 2010 •

THE MUSIC ISSUE Book Review Book: Me by Ricky Martin 292 pages

By A. Sebastian Fortino


e, the much-anticipated autobiography of Ricky Martin is written with an air of selfdiscovery, in a tone so honest it borders confessional as if – in addition to coming out – he wants it “all” to come out. However, don’t expect the book to reveal many names he states pretty early on in the book he intends to keep most names private. Martin talks about much more than his talents and awards. Lovingly, he expounds to the intelligent, musical family that reared him in Puerto Rico. He introduces us to himself as a person – not a superstar. He discusses his desire to be a father, his spiritual journey through India in which he witnessed the horrors of poverty, and

his subsequent efforts to lessen suffering through the Ricky Martin Foundation. Among other philanthropic highlights they work to rescue children in Southeast Asia from being sold as sex workers. Of course, Martin does talk about his days in Menudo, which he admits did not let him have a normal childhood. Although, he is wise not to damn the early days as they built his character, his international presence and the adoration of millions of fans that have allowed him to fulfill his childhood aspirations. Joy in fact comes brilliantly across – especially when he shares the excitement of bringing Latin music to a North-American

audience. The unending interviews and public appearances he learned to put up with in his boy band days served him well when he envisioned his crossover, although left little time for relationships. “I said yes to everything because I wanted the entire world – and more than anything the United States – to notice me. The crossover to the American market meant so much to me that I was willing to do anything at all to make it happen,” he states. “But despite all the enthusiasm with which I pursued my new goal, I could already see the dangers that lurked behind it.” As in all stories, there is also personal pain, which he does not gloss over. Not only

the pain he witnesses in terms of destitute children. He knew early on he was gay, but much like he does not damn his lost childhood he talks about his sexuality in a manner that suggests when he did come out publicly was really the right time. He also speaks of relationships with women, which he describes as having been wonderful experiences but they all seem to have been impossible. Although, one must wonder if he is doing this only for his fans, to keep the idea alive that at least he once loved women, to reveal that not only is he hot, he is still “macho.” Alternately, the reader might wonder if his relationships and sexual experiences with women stem from learning at an early age to take advantage of what was offered. Perhaps, his interest in spirituality allowed Martin to create such a revealing book about his life at only the age of 38, for already looks back on his life with the weight of a much older subject.Yet, with his children to raise, and his boyfriend to reveal as of yet, there will certainly be other books from the man who brought his “la vida loca” into our lives.


December 15, 2010 •

Chop House Miami

Not Your Father’s Steakhouse Dining Review Restaurant: Chop House Miami 300 South Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL For more information please visit,

By A. Sebastian Fortino


hop House Miami, 300 South Biscayne Blvd, does boast banquettes in deep chocolate leather, and a bar of Olympian proportions.Yet, modern, fun, and friendly touches abound. Pillars are trimmed with cowhide, while portraits of diners hang in the entryway of the restaurant. My guest and, decided to sit at the exterior bar as it was a lovely evening, to enjoy the view of Biscayne Bay. The bar area is dramatically different – much more Miami, white with splashes of lime green. The menu was not as imposing as I feared, thanks to helpful descriptions by our server. For our first course we had the lobster cakes. The lobster flesh was something to bite into, as the claw meat was not pureed, but battered in a luscious crust. As happy hour was in full swing our server recommended we try something from the bar menu, the steak bites. The tender morsels of sirloin were served like sliders, with an au poivre sauce. Serving such a classic sauce with such a “nibble” made them modern and elegant. Lobster macaroni and cheese has been popular for quite some time.Yet, some places slack off when they serve it, perhaps cutting

the lobster and noodles with inferior cheeses. Not so at Chop House Miami.This is normally a side dish but we ordered it to share as an appetizer.The lobster was actually visible, the cheeses – gouda, sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, provelone, parmesean and mozzarella – were rich but not overwhelming. While most people associate red wine with beef, I much prefer a no-nonsense, gin martini – very dry, up with olives. Our Bombay Sapphire martinis were large, and served nearly frozen, enticingly trimmed with large olives. For our steaks we were told to order the Porterhouse and the bone-in ribeye. For our sides we ordered the sautéed mushrooms and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. However, when you come to a steakhouse the meat is…well, what’s for dinner. Chop House Miami gets its generous cuts of meat from Wisconsin. Each steer is grass fed, and the tenderness comes across in the meat.You don’t need any steak sauce here. My guest loved the Porterhouse, while I was thrilled with the rare, hearty, yet delicate flavor of my bone-in ribeye. I was warned by our server that by ordering rare I would get what I asked for which was fine by me. She assured me if it was not cooked to my liking it could be sent back to the kitchen. My guest ordered his medium rare and was equally happy. These were steaks – serious steaks. We each had enough left over for lunch the next day. Then again, while I appreciate meat I like to savor it. A steak fanatic might easily devour the cut in one sitting.

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We were rather full, but not stuffed, by the time we had finished our plates and sent the leftovers to be wrapped. However, after finishing our second martini we found the will to eat dessert. We told our charming server to bring whatever dessert she favored. We were presented with a huge brownie, of gargantuan, American proportions.The brownie was layered with macadamia nuts, fresh strawberries, ice cream, and then drizzled with hot fudge and caramel sauce.We carried on though and ate most of it, much to the disappointment of my scale the next morning. To reinforce that Chop House Miami is

a fun, modern destination, the wonderful happy hour on the terrace facing Biscayne Bay seemed to be a casual spot for people getting off from work. If you’re a fan of the Miami heat, but not sports bars per se, be sure to stop in on game night as happy hour continues throughout the game. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll go home full!


December 15, 2010 •

Heard it on...



The Closer Cast Films PSAs for GLSEN’s Safe Space Campaign  The Closer returned to TNT last night, and the cast of the hit show sent a message for viewers – give the gift of a Safe Space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and Amber heard transgender youth this comes out holiday season. Amber Heard used this weekend’s The cast filmed a PSA for 25th anniversary party for GLAAD to GLSEN’s Safe Space Camcome out of the closet on the red carpet. paign to place a Safe Space Joined by her partner, Tasya van Ree, the Kit in every middle and Pineapple Express actress explained her high school in the country. decision to go public by saying she felt it was her duty not to keep the information a The Kit provides educators with tools and resources secret. “I think that when millions and millions of hard-working, tax-paying Americans to address anti-LGBT bullying and create a safe and affirming space are denied their rights and denied their for LGBT youth.  You equality you can learn more at www. have to ask yourself what “As a gay man, I feel are the factors truly blessed to have the that are an epiopportunity to play a gay demic problem character on TV whose and that’s what sexuality isn’t an issue,” this is,” the said actor Jonathan 24-year-old said. Del Arco, who plays gay Injustice can coroner Dr. Morales on never be stood the show. “But from my for. It always personal experience in must be fought and outside of high school, against and I just being gay certainly isn’t as was sick of it beeasy as it can appear to be ing a problem.” Amber Heard on TV. (AfterEllen)

Scene from Undertow

“That’s why I encouraged my castmates at The Closer, led by Kyra Sedgwick, to record a special PSA. Its message, in response to the tragic wave of gay teen suicides earlier this year, is very simple: every student, LGBT and straight, needs a safe space at school.” TNT posted the PSA on The Closer website at Sedgwick and husband Kevin Bacon also filmed a second PSA to support the campaign. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth experienced harassment in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and nearly two-thirds because of their gender expression, according to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey.

CARDONA COMING TO MIAMI Colombian actor Manolo Cardona will be in Miami to attend the opening of his new film Undertow (Contracorriene) on Friday, December 17 at the Coral Gables Art Cinema for a seven-days-a-week run through December 23. Manolo Cardona is one of the most recognized actors in Latin America, having been part such blockbusters as La Mujer de mi Hermano, Rosario Tijeras, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Cardona will be attending screenings opening night only at 7:30 and 10:00 pm, with a Q & A after each. Free opening red-carpet reception includes a complimentary Bacardi bar and typical Peruvian food from Pardo’s Chicken beginning at 6:30 pm.


December 15, 2010 •

VIEWS OF THE NEWS The staff of SFGN at the Hotspots Holiday Party for the Pride Center. “On behalf of SFGN and the wonderful friendship we have created, I want to congratulate Peter Clark and Hotspots on the occasion of their anniversary.” –Norm Kent, Publisher, SFGN

Unveiling of the new Crime stopper Hate Crime Poster to include the Homeless designation in Florida’s Hate Crime Statue at the signing ceremony. Pictured left to right: State Senator Ari Porth, Rick Wierzbicki and Sheriff Al Lamberti.

Sundays at the Manor in the Ivy Room feature Rick and Emily in a soothing masterful blues performance, starting at 8 pm. Photo by Harry Demasiado.

The Precise Agency Hosts Super Hero Party The Precise Agency Group will hold their third annual “Super Hero Holiday Party,” benefitting the Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center (CDTC) and the Matthew Sheppard Foundation on Saturday December 18 from 8:30-11:30pm at their Fort Lauderdale office. The fundraiser, hosted by Michael Hendrix and Chad Crow, will be co-sponsored by several local and national brand names such as Telluride Gay Ski Week, Couture Confections, and 2Blond Salon as well as Chambord Finlandia and Harradura Tequilas. Last year’s event raised over twelve hundred G.I. Joe figures and Barbie dolls making the event one of Ft Lauderdale’s most notable and exciting holiday benefit parties to date. “Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, you’re invited to come experience our soiree,” states Hendrix, CEO of the Precise Agency. “Guests are encouraged to bring a new and unwrapped superhero toy which we will donate to children facing terminal illnesses such as HIV.” For more information, please visit


December 15, 2010 •

Swept Away by Undertow By Steve Fritz

wants more out of the relationship. Miguel knows don’t remember when I’ve heard of what could potentially hapa film coming out of Peru. If that isn’t pen if the village finds out. enough, I’d be seriously stumped to hear Mariela’s hard pregnancy of a Peruvian export that bravely and deftly gives a solid reason for her handle sexual identity. Then the icing on the to be clueless. That’s when cake is the film in question, Undertow (actuit takes a turn into the ally called Contracorriente), has already justifiworld of magic realism. ably earned last earned last year’s Sundance That’s because early in Audience Appreciation Award and is now the film Santiago first disapbeing considered as Oscar material for their pears, then becomes only import film category. visible to his former lover. Yet such is the case here, which makes That’s when Undertow takes Undertow’s arrival to both the Coral Scene from Undertow a bittersweet page or two Gables Art Cinema and Boca Raton’s new from The Two Husbands of Living Room Theater an absolute must see. What the entire village doesn’t realize is Miguel also has his man on the side, a sensi- Dona Flores, only this is where the survivThe film stars Christian Mercado as tive, rich kid artist named Santiago (Manolo ing lover’s world truly starts to unravel. Miguel, a popular fisherman in a basically To be honest, kudos should be handed Cardona), who the village apparently anonymous, small fishing village. He’s hapout to Mercado as a man literally haunted despises just on general principle. pily married to Mariela (Tatiana Astengo), by his former lover and coming to consider At first the film looks like it’s going to who at the beginning of the film is well on “Home of tHe original uncut pizza” all the rectifications of his actions. Astengo her way towards delivering their first child. take a typical soap opera turn. Santiago


Island CIty PIZZa

Movie Review Movie: Undertow

should also be praised as the woman cuckolded. Her low key but earthy way of learning then coping with her cheating husband is both surprising and refreshing. Cardona’s portrayal of a ghost seeking final peace also has its moments. Still, what makes the film remarkable is the way director and writer Javier FuentesLeon handles both the living and the dead in this absorbing drama. There’s no gimmickry, no cheap effects, running through the entire film. Instead, we are given a fairly down-to-earth consideration of love and death through three particularly vivid perspectives. So, while this may be the first time I’ve ever heard of a film of any kind coming out of Peru, Undertow is such a wonder one hopes that there are a lot more coming. This is a film that truly going to sweep its viewers away with its handling of both the supernatural and the very, very real.


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Island CIty PIZZa The oils and juices stay on the pizza until you are ready to eat not on the bottom of the box so your pizza crust staysoriginal hard and uncut doesn’tpizza” go limp. “Home of tHe





954-561-4272 “WOW” • Dennis J from Sfgn “Best Pizza I’ve Ever Had” • Bob r from fX “To Die For!” • evan corey WHY UNCUT? The oils and juices stay on the pizza until you are ready to eat not on the bottom of the box so your 1913 north andrews • wilton pizza crust stays avenue hard and doesn’t go limp.manors “WOW” • Dennis J from Sfgn “Best Pizza I’ve Ever Had” • Bob r from fX TECHNOLOGY “To Die For!” • evan corey

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December 15, 2010 •

Catching My Breath

The Reunion By Alex Escobar ‘Catching My Breath’ is a personal reflections column about gay life. If you want to ‘catch your breath,’ submit your stories to’


few months ago I was notified that my 10 year high school reunion was being organized. I thought to myself “wow – a lot of stuff has gone down since those days.” I instantaneously replayed some memories of high school. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like high school. I was literally counting down the days till graduation and getting the hell out of Arkansas. The only thing that kept me sane was my best friend Dania and my boss/ mentor Mark. So flash forward to now – in the last ten years, I got a college degree, got into a long term GAY relationship, created a successful business/career. Life is Grand. But I had it in my mind that this reunion was going to be high school all over again:

Drama, Clicks, BS. Why? Cause I’m the gay guy going into a conservative area that is all about the churches, religion, and gossip. My mindset changed rapidly. I was going to be the one to ‘show them how it’s done.’ I was gonna be the “ Big Bitch on Campus.” I was going to be prejudice. So I packed my 300 lbs of luggage (because what if it’s Christmas in October?)

and jetted off to Mena, Arkansas with my partner in tow. Stayed at my best friend’s parent’s house so she and I could spend every minute together. I mean, hello: gay guy + straight girl= Duh! So after two flights, a Kia rental car, and a long drive, we finally arrived. Parked the Kia and grabbed keys to a Chevy Tahoe – didn’t want to stand out in the country. Went to the tailgate party – saw a few former classmates. Pretty much uneventful.

Went to dinner at Mark’s house and had a freakin’ blast with his wife, son, daughterin-law (loves me some Stephanie).

So along comes Saturday – dripping in Oscar De la Renta, Robert Graham, & Prada, we entered THE REUNION. I went into it expecting a battle. Expecting MAJOR controversy. Expecting Drama. It was completely the opposite. I went into expecting the worst and NOT hoping for the best. Warm embraces, intelligent conversations, & laughter. Wow. Everyone grew up. I WAS the ass going into it with an attitude. Cut to me bitch-slapping myself. The night was amazing. Memorable. Awesome. Cut to us at the “Country Club” and partner, Shane having a freaking blast talking to a guy named Buck Shot while we’re thinking we’re drinking Bacardi, but it was really 151 in a room where wood paneling went to die. Good times. In the end, I was the dumbass. I was the one who figured I was gonna be the outcast and turns out…we were almost the belles of the ball. It was a priceless moment when we won the award of couple that had the most difference in age between them. Bottom line, it REALLY DOES GET BETTER. I am... incredibly humbled and wouldn’t change the experience for anything in the world.

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December 15, 2010 •

Crossword Puzzle

Comeback for Coming Out Down

Across 1 Supporters in the bedroom 6 Bump off 10 Like someone blown away 15 Scroll at Beth Chayim Chadashim 16 Giggling Muppet 17 Capone rival 18 Capital of Ghana 19 Groups of games, to Mauresmo 20 Jodie Foster’s ___ Room 21 Common insult 24 Carol, for example 25 Boy who shoots off arrows 26 Sault ___ Marie 29 Granny 31 Diana, to the Greeks 36 Running into overtime 38 Dottermans of Antonia’s Line 40 Rivera portrayer, in Frida 41 Start of a family response to the insult 45 Upright shaft 46 It’ll float your boat 47 Teen outbreak 48 Grabs greedily 50 Stole at the Oscars, e.g. 53 Boating pronoun 54 Stadium level 56 You might get dates from it 58 End of the response 66 Last letter from Socrates 67 Pita sandwich 68 Gertrude’s partner 69 Type of pole 70 Bus. school course 71 Cole Porter’s “___ I Kissed My Baby Goodbye” 72 Broadway whisper 73 ___ ex machina 74 Hot to trot See solution on page 35

1 Deer, or without a dear 2 Nuts 3 Curve and others 4 Fruit desserts 5 Stone of _If These Walls Could Talk 2_ 6 Edith Head, e.g. 7 He did Jackie’s clothes 8 Cho’s “___ One That I Want” 9 “Our” to Pasolini 10 Fake 11 He took on a pair of bears 12 Composer Thomas 13 Play a mean sax 14 Env. fattener 22 Latina writer Castillo 23 Singer with an accent? 26 You don’t want to get pink ones 27 Bring to the auto repair 28 ___ Gay 30 “Uh-oh!” to Shelley 32 Lanchester of Bride of Frankenstein 33 David’s Baywatch role 34 Nuts 35 Pop singer Leo 37 Chug-a-lug 39 One way to cook fruit 42 Some heteros change it at the altar 43 Ancient Celt 44 Moby Dick stickers 49 Classified, informally 51 “That was good, honey!” 52 Tickle pink 55 Auto pioneer Henry 57 Sasha Obama’s big sister 58 “___ light?” 59 Tori who sang “I am not from your tribe” 60 Legendary Himalayan 61 Dated 62 Drop ___ (moon) 63 Rhames of Holiday Heart 64 Homo leader? 65 Not e’en once


December 15, 2010 •

To place an ad, call Brian Swinford


or fill out form online at ACCOMMODATIONS

help wanted

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Legal Services Proudly serving the South Florida GLBTX Comm. since 1993. Law office’s of Robin L. Bodiford ,PA specializes in Bankruptcy, Probate, Wills&Trust. Call 954-630-2707 -------------------------------------------------Creditors Calling? Call Us! The Law Offices of George Castrataro, PA. Serving Clients With Integrity and Compassion 954-573-1444

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PETS Two English bulldog puppies for free to a good home. They are very friendly with people and other pets. If interested Please contact

Professional Services Home Health Aid Full or part time, live in or out. CNA experience, references, exercise, nutrition, special anti-cancer diet if interested. Call Jeff for no obligation consultation. 954-854-2420

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Yacht repair and captain/engineer serviceYachts serviced: 10’-190’ yacht charters-36’-300plus Free quotes on Yacht Construction/ Commissioning, Freelance Captain/ Engineer, Electronics repair and installation, Gas/Diesel Repair/Re-power, Hydraulic fabrication, repair and installation, Water maker repair/ installation, Full service Welding & machine shop, Fiber glass/gel coat repair/ Woodwork/ Varnishing, Monthly wash and Systems check service, Deliveries, Sea Trials & Surveys Cell Phone: 954.326.1858 Joe MacDonald

Solution to Crossword Puzzle on page 34


December 15, 2010 •


MARCH 30 – APRIL 24 BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS TICKETS ON SALE NOW 954-462-0222 or Groups (20+): 954-626-7814 or 954-462-0222 • Grammy® Award-Winning Cast Recording available on Decca Broadway

SF Gay News • 12/16• 10 x 10.75

12/15/10 V1I47