GAGA NATION Lady Gaga: Because my fans are so sexy State of SEX Mardi Gras
This issue is dedicated to Complimentary Copy
‘ n THiS ISSUE
7 11 15 21 23 25 26
GAGA Monster State of SEX Mardi Gras, Mardi Gay LIVE + CREATE: Marbles Yoga Date Place: Pi in the CWE Scene & Styling Non-profit of the month: Planned Parenthood
Volume 11, Issue 2 Index Darin Slyman – Publisher/Editor email@example.com Tess Tulley – Director of Business Affairs firstname.lastname@example.org Jeff Kapfer – Design email@example.com Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Mark Webber – Writer Danny Gladden – Writer Colin Murphy – Writer Richard Nichols – Photography Philip Dietch – Photography Scott Lokitz – Photography Gabriel Thorne – Intern Amanda Wichern – Intern
ONLINE thevitalvoice.com facebook.com/VitalVOICE twitter.com/VitalVOICEmag ADVERTISING Tesstulley@thevitalvoice.com 314.256.1196 (office) ADVISORY BOARD William A. Donius Thom Halter Colin Murphy Jay Perez Pam Schneider Kellie Trivers Sharon Tucci
CONTACT Vital VOICE Magazine 4579 Laclede Avenue #268 Saint Louis, MO 63108 VitalVOICEmag@gmail.com 314.256.1196
SPECIAL THANKS: Vital VOICE magazine would like to thank the Fabulous Fox Theatre for their amazing contribution to this month’s Gaga Nation issue and to the entire LGBT community. Another grand MERCI goes out to Interscope Records, photographers Meeno and Hedi Slimane for the brilliant images of Lady GAGA. Finally, Karla Robinson for all her rockin’ work.
Friends, I am honored and proud that you have embraced the new Vital VOICE magazine. My goal is to continue publishing how amazing our LGBT world truly is. It is because of you I can showcase the modern lifestyle that is today’s St. Louis LGBT community. On a frigid January 6th evening, over 225 people showed up to our official Vital VOICE launch party @ SOL Lounge. Merriment and mayhem ensued as guests sipped on libations provided by Absolute and FRIS Vodka. I personally couldn’t have asked for a better evening of inspiration to solidify as to why I do this. I thank you all for braving the winter storm and for celebrating this new era of LGBT media in the St. Louis region. A big thank you must go out to all our sponsors Pure Power, Absolute Vodka, Food Outreach, Band Together, Glitter Bomb Production, Rock Uniform PR and SOL lounge for making it all happen. I implore you to patronize these amazing sponsors for doing what they do for the St. Louis community. Over the past few months while rebranding Vital VOICE, I have been aided and inspired by so many people-past and present. I feel that it is important for me to publish the names of those who have helped make Vital VOICE magazine what it is and what it will become. Thank you Bill Donius, Sharon Tucci, Pamela Schneider, Allyson Mace, Kellie Trivers, Leslie Tunney, Debra Bass, Thom Halter and Kelly Hamilton for believing in me and educating me on what it is I must do in this crazy world of publishing. Vital VOICE magazine couldn’t have happened without the amazing hard work of Tess Tulley, Colin Murphy, Karla Robinson, Jeff Kapfer, Richard Nichols, Mark Webber and Gabrial Thorne. Team Vital VOICE busts their booties everyday to bring you everything of quality about the LGBT community in St. Louis. To those who inspire me every day… Garrett Haas, H. Ray Davis, Damir Simovic, Jennifer Neal, Michael Drummond, Robyn Monteque, Will Roth, Sherrill Wayland, Kevan Crans, Travis Byrne, Lee Bond, Alex Dren, Jay Perez, Drew Baumgartner, Dieta Pepsi and Joey Gilibertithank you for being pretty much my everything! I’m sure I have forgot several people but you know who you are. Ok… that is enough love fest! Welcome to February and the GAGA nation. I must give major props to The Fabulous Fox Theatre for bringing Lady Gaga to St. Louis. All the hype and rumors made the entire experience dramatic, surreal, amazing, luxurious and sexy cool. Her one night appearance in St. Louis will be indelibly burned into everyone’s minds. Our senior writer/web editor, Colin Murphy has described best the experience as GAGA fever. Nothing could be truer. I was fortunate enough to attend the concert with a few of my very special friends in celebration of my birthday.
The last time I had that much fun at a concert was at the Madonna Blond Ambition Tour. Oh wait… I’m dating myself. Oops! I would describe the GAGA concert neither as a show nor a party. To me, it was a full tilt happening. I was overwhelmed with the most perfect blend of audio and visual artistry. If you missed it… fret not. We have created a full cover feature just for you. If you were there, this can serve as documentation of your experience. Again, thank you to The Fox Theatre and Interscope Records for bringing us the Lady Gaga Experience. Vital VOICE magazine is proud to present our non-profit of the month Planned Parenthood. Their service to the community is immeasurable. I encourage you to read their dissertation on STDs and how to prevent poor choices and promote good sexual health. You can always visit them at their headquarters located at the corner of Boyle and Forest Park Parkway or log onto their website ppslr.org. Stay Tuned for an exciting March issue. Vital VOICE has teamed up with the NOH8 project to bring you an in depth cover feature and photo exhibition at the Duane Reed Gallery. We are also working with Lumen to host a red carpet event during the broadcast of the Oscars. We hope you will join us for these super fun, upcoming events in March. Cheers,
Darin Slyman Publisher
Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! and Wan Mum-mum-mum-mum-mah! www.musicloversgroup.comwrite RahGaGa-oo-la-la! And I want your lovemance Want your bad romance You know that I want you Mum
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Written By Colin Murphy – Senior Writer / Web Editor Photography by: COVER – Meeno, courtesy of Interscope Records Black & White – Hedi Slimane, courtesy of Interscope Records Washington DC – Philip Deitch Siren – Tyler Cross
It was bound to happen. A major case of GaGa fever swept The Lou following the announcement that the pop culture icon’s, The Monster Ball tour was coming to town on Jan. 7 and the LGBT community had it bad. For nearly 30-years gay fans have waited in vain for Madonna (the last true diva of note) to grace us with her presence. So when word spread that heir-apparent, Lady GaGa had booked a date the Gateway City LGBT community could hardly contain its excitement. Add to this the news that Topeka-based homophobe, Rev. Fred Phelps was bringing his Westboro Baptist Church to protest the event and you had the most nationally talked about St. Louis concert since the Guns N’ Roses riot at Riverport. In the end, the winter storms and sub-zero temperatures kept the odious Phelps clan at bay but the threat of frost bite couldn’t keep GaGa Nation from descending on the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Indeed, the GaGa concert was unlike anything St. Louis has seen before. Fans came dressed in a carnival of festive finery to witness the arena sized concert which enveloped the former movie palace. It was bright, it was brilliant and as empowering as it was entertaining. GaGa played the coquettish dominatrix as she prowled the stage pouting and shouting for her little monsters’ love—and we gave it freely. For “the Lady” knows her audience and she took us to church to preach equality, diversity and all things gay. “Put your hands in the air,” cried the warrior queen. “For love, for art, for unity—for gay fu*king pride!”
The atmosphere was electric from the moment her flashing silhouette appeared behind the opaque curtain. The stage was a modern triptych of plasma screens which projected artistic imagery of GaGa intermixed with mind bending light displays throughout the 100-minute spectacle. The creative chameleon was in fine voice whether rising through a two story glass cube, navigating a futuristic sphere or straddling her post-apocalyptic piano. GaGa’s music is infectious and commands you to move as she took us on an 18-song journey of Fame including hits ranging from “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi” to “Just Dance” and “Bad Romance.” Known for her quirky fashion and platinum hair, GaGa did not disappoint darting off stage for a runway of wardrobe and wig changes while muscled dancers and special effects held fans transfixed. Gay Icon, Gay Activist Like Madonna before her, Lady GaGa embraces her gay fans and champions our issues; but the 23-year-old has taken it to a level never seen before in popular culture. She regularly speaks of LGBT issues both in interviews and from the stage. What’s more, she’s done so from the very start of her career.
Born Stefani Germanotta, the New York native was surrounded from an early age by many gay mentors as her parents nurtured the musical prodigy. Whether in school or out at the clubs, the openly bisexual superstar has always enjoyed a gay sensibility and recently told Out magazine that she wants to inject gay culture into the mainstream. This past October GaGa participated in the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. performing at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, and on the following day, shrugged off security concerns to march alongside hundreds of thousands of LGBT activists to the U.S. Capitol where she addressed the crowds. “ARE YOU LISTENING?” she screamed out to President Obama. “We will continue to push your administration to bring your promise to reality.” GaGa has taken a stand against homophobic lyrics in the music industry and late last year partnered with Virgin Mobile to form a charity to help LGBT homeless youth. (She gave the charity a shout from the Fox stage.) Indeed, GaGa is a new breed of gay icon and her fans have taken notice.
ARE YOU LISTENING? GaGa for GaGa “That’s what’s wonderful about her,” said Tyler Cross who is better known as the edgy female impersonator, Siren. “I feel like in past generations there’s always been the diva who at some point said, hey—I know I have a lot of gay fans and I appreciate you guys, you guys are great. But I feel like my generation has never had that. We’ve just been throwing ourselves at Brittany or Christina or whoever and screaming I love you, I love you and they’re like, heyyy. But Lady GaGa—she stopped and said, yeah, I love you too.” Cross was one of the many thousands of queer fans lucky enough to score a seat at the Fabulous Fox and not surprisingly, came dressed as the diva to mark the occasion. “Blonde hair and no pants—it’s pretty easy to get it started,” quipped Cross. “The first time I did it was for the Queen of Pride pageant in May of this past year and I was like, if I’m doing GaGa—I’m doing GaGa as GaGa—I want to look like her. So I got a costume made, bought new hair and then it kind of went crazy from there. Now there are three hairs and six costumes.” The Bonne Terre, Mo. native started female impersonation seven years ago at age 18 during amateur nights at Faces nightclub. With musical interests that are admittedly off-the-beaten-path, Cross struggled early in his career between what he wanted to do as an artist and what audiences would appreciate in a show. That is until he heard an obscure remix of GaGa’s “Just Dance” and related to the artist immediately. “I think that’s what tied it all together for me,” explained Cross of his appeal. “Now I can do this fantastic, weird, unique person all of the time and its pop music and everyone knows it and everyone loves it and everyone relates to it. And I’ve never really been able to relate to pop music like this before.” 11
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State of Sex Writen by Danny Gladden
David Letterman, Hugh Grant, George Michael, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Tiger Woods, Senators’ John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter; Governors’ Elliot Spitzer, Jim McGreevey and Mark Sanford and Congressman Mark Foley—indeed, the 2000s were full of sex scandals following the sexcapade of the century starring Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. So what is your sexual new year’s resolution for 2010? Find a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner? Increase or decrease the amount of “sexting” you send on your iPhone? Convince your lover to try out a new kinky position? Finally purchase that fleshlight you’ve always wanted? Launch your solo, duo or group xtube career? What about decreasing the number of anonymous sex partners or increasing the use of condoms and dental dams for anal, oral or vaginal sex? Maybe you want to decrease the number of times you have sex while under the influence of alcohol, pot or other substances. What about increasing communication with your partner(s) and talking with your friends about erotic safer sex options? Maybe you’ll decide to get tested on a regular basis for sexually transmitted infections. Whatever your “sexolution” is for 2010, may you have a fulfilling and empowering sexual year that is physically safe for you and your intimate partner. For individuals who identify as LGBT— queer, questioning and even our hetero friends—2010 can be a year of amazing sex. Still, thoughtful preparation is necessary.
Third, talk about it: talk before you have sex, while you’re having sex, and after you’ve had sex. Discuss being safe and protecting yourself from a sexually transmitted infection. Fourth, make it mutual: making sex mutual means making sure it’s what you both want. Decide about sex together by discussing if, when, where, and how often you will have sex—set limits by telling your partner if you’re uncomfortable or afraid. Respect your partner’s limits and share equal responsibility for sexual decisions. Finally—together, you and your partner can have fun with sex: set the mood and adjust the lighting. Be spontaneous by having sex when you don’t expect to—but remember that acting on impulse doesn’t mean being unsafe. Don’t be afraid to try out new things. And enjoy sexual expression other than intercourse by doing other things. Finally, one sex-positive “sexolution” LGBT youth are making for 2010 is to stay mentally, physically and sexually healthy in the New Year. One way to do to this is to check out one of the community’s many health centers such as E.F.A., Planned Parenthood or the SPOT. So make your sexolution today and Happy New Year!
LGBT youth specifically are coming out and negotiating safer sex options at a much younger age. Online social networking, dance clubs catering to the 18-20 crowd and social support groups have created a number of opportunities for queer youth to engage, interact and build relationships. Additionally, online sites such as gay.com, manhunt.net, adam4adam.com, bgclive.com, craigslist.org, and GRINDR on the iPhone make “hooking up” all the more easy. The Generation Z of LGBT youth have an opportunity to be the most informed and equipped to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, herpes, syphilis, Chlamydia and gonorrhea. After all, young people are open to discussing sexual encounters with friends and holding one another accountable for routine testing. Of course, the best protection from sexually transmitted infections remains abstinence. That said, LGBT youth know that good sex can seem magical, but it usually just “doesn’t happen.” Great sex happens when both partners feel safe, cared for and comfortable. According to ETR Associates, there are five steps that LGBT youth can use to think about and plan ahead for good sex: First, you have to know what you want: think about what having sex means to you—define your limits—discover what you like. Second, you should protect yourself: sex can be risky, but thinking ahead and being prepared lets you choose ways to keep yourself and your partner safe. Know the risks and how to protect yourself from a sexually transmitted infection and get yourself checked.
1 Out of 10
Mardi Gras, Mardi Gay Written by Colin Murphy Photography by Scott Lokitz
The Carnival season is again at hand and Mardi Gras, as it must from time to time, falls in early February with coats and hats being the costume of choice over scantily clad women and shirtless men. But the cold has never stopped revelers of every stripe—both gay and straight—from converging on historic Soulard. This year marks the 31 - annual celebration of what has become a destination event for our fair city—where the beaded and bedazzled celebrate day and night. It is widely known that loosely translated, “Mardi Gras” is French for “Fat Tuesday” (the day before the Christian fast of Lent) and was celebrated in many parts of Europe since the Middle Ages before being brought to New Orleans over 200 years ago by French immigrants.
A lesser known fact is that Mardi Gras was recognized right here in St. Louis throughout the 1800s by the French Catholic settlers of Soulard (our city’s oldest neighborhood). Still, it proved a short-lived celebration as all of the fun abruptly ended when more conservative immigrant groups replaced them at the turn of the century. In fact Mardi Gras celebrations would remain relatively quiet until a local character by the name of Hillary Clemments came along to shake things up. Clemments was well-known for hosting spirited Mardi Gras parties but soon discovered they were outgrowing their Russell boulevard home. In 1979 the rehabber took the party to the streets of Soulard, and along with a band of friends, paraded in Carnival dress from McGurk’s to Clemments’ home. That four-block trek is considered by many the first modern Mardi Gras Parade in St. Louis.
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Since that time the Soulard Mardi Gras celebration has grown to include well over 500,000 revelers and is now the third largest celebration of its kind behind “Rio” and “New Awlins.” The once intimate lope through Soulard’s side streets has now been replaced by the more conventional and much larger parade down Seventh street and even a nighttime Fat Tuesday event through downtown’s Washington Avenue. Indeed, Mardi Gras is one of the few holidays where the gay and straight worlds collide here in the Gateway City. In the late 1970s we were fortunate to have an already established lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Soulard which continues to this day. The historic neighborhood is home to Clementines (St. Louis’ oldest gay bar founded in 1978), Bastille, and for many years, The Front Page. For over three decades the LGBT community has been instrumental in Mardi Gras’ planning and participation all the while living, working and playing in the shadow of the brewery. It’s only appropriate that we’ve been able to maintain and grow a proud gay presence at Soulard Mardi Gras to mirror the New Orleans celebration. We have our own “lavender lane” or “pink alley”, if you will, in the stretch of Menard between Bastille and Clementines. It’s our community’s home-base where queer revelers congregate and well-known as one of the hottest areas post-parade. The LGBT community has certainly put its stamp on Soulard Mardi Gras. Clementines continues to play host to the high-camp High Heel Drag Race, now in its 23-year as well as one of Mardi Gras’ most popular events, the 17-annual Beggin’ Pet Parade and “Tail” Gate Party. For the love of shoes and animals is universal (he said ironically) and nothing brings folks together like our dogs, cats and other domesticated pets dressed to the nines in their Mardi Gras best. So bundle up, work those beads—and “Let the Good Times Roll.”
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Marbles Yoga Finds Success in Historic Lafayette Square Written by Mark Webber. Photography by Richard Nichols
Written by Mark Webber Photography by: Richard Nichols
So maybe Karen Jones got lucky when she first opened Marbles Yoga in Lafayette Square in 2003. At that time Lafayette Square may have been on the rise, but since 2006, the historic neighborhood has been considered a restored fashionable commodity of St. Louis. She couldn’t be happier with her luck. “Location is very important for yoga and the location is pretty fantastic,” Jones says. The fact that the area has boomed has surely helped Karen gain many yoga enthusiasts, both beginners and veterans, but Karen knew she wanted her yoga studio placed in Lafayette Square well before the renovation of the neighborhood brought so many residents, shops, and restaurants to the area. “It all started with me reading a book,” she says. “The book was called The Artist’s Way. I just got the idea from reading that. All I can say is I was reading the book and then Bing!” Karen points her finger up in the air expressing the enthusiasm she had the day the epiphany came. “It just suddenly came to me. It seemed so perfect. I’ve had other businesses. I’ve had a coffee shop and others, but, when this one came to my head, I just knew. Yoga is perfect for me.” It seems that she may be right. Marbles Yoga, voted Best Yoga Studio by The Riverfront Times, has become a significantly well-known establishment for yoga participants. Yet, it certainly isn’t location alone that has allowed Karen’s studio to find success.
Besides yoga, the studio also acts as an art gallery that allows artists to submit their work every month. Karen, then, reviews the art and chooses which ones to display in the studio. Every month, she hosts an art show to present the displayed pieces.
aren’t, you know, a $10,000 a painting kind of person yet.” The fact that the art gallery and yoga studio share the same space allows for a signature studio, but gives a more interesting environment for yoga participants as well.
“I’ve always loved art and am an artist myself. My coffee shop was also an art gallery.”
“Environment is so important. I think it is especially important for yoga. When you have both a comfortable atmosphere, and I think we really do make it comfortable for people to just drop in, but the comfortable atmosphere along with excellent artwork to look at really encourages the yoga experience.”
Yet, she didn’t think displaying her own artwork all the time was such a good idea. “The main reason I wanted to display art,” she says, “was because I wanted it to always be different in the studio. I couldn’t display my own artwork all the time. Oh, here’s Karen’s artwork again! No. I couldn’t do that. I don’t hate my artwork or anything, but I don’t want it to get boring. And I’m easily bored.” Karen likes to typically choose art that is reasonably priced to allow artists to be recognized. “I’m not one of those big galleries. I like to make it more accessible for artists in town who are either beginners or they
Karen really emphasizes the comfort that her studio provides. “I think we really make it comfortable for anyone to be involved here,” she says. “I believe that because of this, we have more men that come here than other yoga studios, but, really, it is open to everybody including all genders, sexual orientation, and even ultra conservatives who might be otherwise scared to try something they’ve only heard of.” While Marbles Yoga Studio seems to have all the right qualities for a fantastic establishment for the exercise and spiritual healing yoga can provide, not everyone treats it as such.
Wtoebe People want
Last year the Missouri Department of Revenue concluded that Marbles Yoga Studio and other yoga studios must charge a 4% sales tax to patrons. Most services, such as yoga classes, are not generally charged sales tax around the country. By the Missouri Department of Revenue announcing the provision, it seems that, in their view, yoga is more entertainment or recreation than a key to a healthy lifestyle. “It’s very weird to start taxing yoga,” Karen says. “My very strong opinion is this. The country, the state, the city know there is an overall problem in this country with obesity and people being unhealthy. For them to start taxing something that helps fight that problem makes absolutely no sense.”
While an organization called The Spirit of Yoga actively fights against such taxes, Karen can only continue with her personal goals for her studio. She hopes to continue with the fine tuning of Marbles Yoga to a great running machine. First, however, will be the introduction of her DVD which premieres sometime next month. “The DVD will be much more different than people might think or be used to when it comes to instructional yoga. This one will be much more artistic and entertaining than what people have seen. I’m really excited about it.”
In fact, Karen thinks that the state should do the opposite of taxing. “They should give subsidies for people doing yoga as opposed to taxing them. I just think it makes no sense to tax what the country values as a helpful change from the country’s problems. Let’s see, we want people to be happy and healthy, but let’s make it difficult for them. It’s just so ironic.” 21
D/a/ A lot of talk and hype was made about Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis after we all learned how much Barack Obama loved the stuff. It was certainly reason to take notice. President Obama, as influential as a living man can be, loves a pizza restaurant in St. Louis? Maybe, perhaps even more of an interest for me personally was the fact that Obama is a Chicago man. And, well, Chicago has such great pizza restaurants like Lou Malnati’s. How could he be so into a pizza place in St. Louis? I just made my first visit to Pi in the Central West End with date in hand to see for myself what the fuss was about. When you walk through the doors, you are immediately halted by a large curtain. But there is nothing to fear. You are not going to walk past the curtain to find yourself on stage in front of an anticipating audience. No, you soon realize that you aren’t walking onto a stage, but rather, you’re going behind the curtains to a casual V.I.P. area that you and your date can easily slip in to. For a pizzeria, Pi in the Central West is quite elegant and stylish. The artwork and design of the restaurant is a conflict between modern and old-fashioned taste, which makes it both interesting and refreshing. There are certain images of the restaurant that can’t seem to leave me such as the randomly selected and configured mirrors behind the booths and a sword stabbing a watermelon. While these images may not be especially romantic, they are certainly topics for discussion. Still, it is the lighting that really sets the mood for a date. It may be simple, but many places tend to get this wrong. But this place has it. As far as service goes, I’d say it’s excellent. The waiting staff seemed very helpful, knowledgeable and energetic. The manager that night, Joel Clark, and waitress Kelsey Zehner were especially impressive with their service. It did seem that there were a lot of waiters for the number of tables and especially for a Tuesday night, but, if so, that doesn’t usually equate to be a bad thing for customers. While the environment was fantastic, the food has to be good too, or else it may make us question the President’s taste which may make us question his policies, just kidding. The food is, in fact, very good. I tried three salads: the Euclidean, the BLT, and the Winter Citrus. They all were impressive, however, the Euclidean, which is only available at the Central West End Pi location, was a personal favorite. The small size should be large enough if you’re eating anything else with it. The salad portions are very generous. Joel, the night’s manager, insisted I try one of their signature cocktails that he felt went perfect with any of the salads. The one I had was called the Infinite Potential that mixed champagne and apricot flavor among other things. I was impressed and his pride was certainly valid. Of course, what is really important at a pizzeria is, of course, pizza. I must say that the pizza was very good. Did it live up to the hype? Probably not, but the bar was raised quite high.
PLACE: Written by Mark Webber. Photography by Richard Nichols
Pi in Central West End
I enjoyed both the Bucktown and the Central West End. The Bucktown is a bit thicker with a very desirable blend of flavors including mozzarella, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, green olives, red onions, feta and sun-dried tomatoes. The Central West End has a thin crust and includes mozzarella, volpi prosciutto, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, red onions, arugula. The Central West End is also, as you might guess, only available at the Central West End location. I can’t say that the pizza is the best I’ve ever had nor can I say with confidence that it is the best pizza I’ve had in St. Louis. But I can say this: There is definitely no better pizzeria in St. Louis to take a date to. The atmosphere is wonderful. The service is wonderful. And the food is very good. I do highly recommend saving room for dessert. The desserts, created by Matthew Rice, are extraordinary. I especially loved the Hot Fudge Cake. The rich chocolate is well balanced with ice cream. I couldn’t help but eat the whole thing!
Lady Gaga Concert
On January 7th, 2010, Little Monsters packed the Fabulous Fox Theatre for the sold out Monster Ball Tour. The disco freaks and glam monsters that attended the happening were not disappointed with the non-stop singing and dancing extravaganza. On top of all that.. the hype and rumors surrounding the event made it even more dramatic. Party goers attended in full tilt gaga-style. Vital VOICE was in da’ house to capture who was stylin’ and profilin’. “Show me your teeth!”- Lady Gaga.
Over 225 devout VV fans braved the wintery conditions to celebrate the launch of the new Vital VOICE Magazine. It truly was an inspirational night. Our diverse and prismatic community sure knows how to do it in style. Take Flight was brought to you by Absolute & Fris Vodka, Pure Power, Band Together, Glitter Bomb Production, SOL Lounge and Food Outreach. Thank you to all our sponsors and guests who made this event so perfect! 25
Vital VOICE dedicates this issue to our Non-profit of the month
PLANNED PARENTHOOD Stopping the STD Epidemic…….. It’s as easy as……One, Two, Pee!
Did you know that St. Louis ranks #2 in the nation for new cases of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia? And #5 for HIV? Did you know that you can contract the HPV virus without ever having sex? Did you know that most STDs do not have symptoms, especially in the early stages? If you are having sex, you might be exposed. If you are having unsafe, unprotected sex, you probably are being exposed. And if you and your partner are not monogamous, you may be exposing others. And on, and on, and on. This is why we have an epidemic. It’s not a big surprise that our community holds such high rankings; lack of information, misconceptions and denial about who is or is not at risk, and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Studies report that 90 percent of all collegeaged women and men have been exposed to the HPV virus – the virus that has strains linked to cervical cancer. Most people show no symptoms of the virus, which can be detected during a physical exam. Forgoing annual exams, including pap tests, is a risk that women should not take. Planned Parenthood is here to help. Most STD tests can now be performed with a simple urine test, or for HIV, with a mouth swab. Long gone are the days of invasive q-tips, blood draws and rubber gloves. No more pain - it’s as easy as One, Two, Pee! So what is your excuse for not being tested? For World AIDS Day on December 1, 2009, Alderman Shane Cohn – St. Louis’ first openly gay alderman – and three of his colleges came to Planned Parenthood for HIV tests, and agreed to be filmed by local media to show how important it is for everyone to receive regular testing, and to show how easy it is with a simple swab. Planned Parenthood was also recently honored with a City of St. Louis Health
Department award for their HIV prevention and testing services. This comes in part because of their participation in the national April 2009 GYT (Get Yourself Tested) Campaign, when health centers offered free or low-cost testing for HIV and STDs for teens and young adults. Last year, Planned Parenthood served more than 52,000 patients, many of whom rely on Planned Parenthood’s reduced fees because of their limited income or lack of health insurance.
Planned Parenthood is committed to diversity and justice for everyone. The organization has an award-winning Education and Diversity department that provides training and resources to local teens and parents, giving them the tools to live happy and healthy lives. The Public Policy department defends reproductive rights on local, statewide and national levels to ensure that all Americans have access to comprehensive reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive STD tests and cancer screenings that are affordable and confidential. Many tests are performed on a walk-in basis. If you need an appointment, Planned Parenthood can see you at one of its health centers within two days of your call. Two days!
Their newest group – friendsbychoice – is a friends group dedicated to advancing Planned Parenthood’s mission and services in St. Louis. The friends group hosts events and activities such as its upcoming “Sex Trivia” night on March 27.
Planned Parenthood centers are open Monday through Saturday and on some evenings. Convenient, confidential and affordable services – that’s Planned Parenthood. In addition to STD testing and treatment and HIV tests, Planned Parenthood provides a full range of gynecologic, sexual and reproductive medical services for women, men and teens – for you, for your friends, for your family: • Well women and well men exams, including pap tests and cancer screenings • HPV vaccines for women up to 26 old • Emergency Contraception and comprehensive Birth Control, including long acting, reversible methods • Vasectomy care • Options counseling and Abortion care So here’s a real New Year’s resolution for you to think about... This year take control of your life, your sexual health and your future. Take care of yourself and your partner. Frequent testing means early diagnosis and treatment. Planned Parenthood has six area health centers in the St. Louis region, and two in Southwest Missouri. And nationwide, Planned Parenthood operates over 800 health centers and cares for more than three million individuals each year.
Planned Parenthood depends on the generosity of donors to serve more than 52,000 patients each year in our community. To make a tax deductible donation call 314-531-7526. For more information on how to get involved or to schedule an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center, call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526), or visit plannedparenthood.org/stlouis