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The Standard Magazine PO Box 2074, Palm Springs, CA 92263 760.831.4869 Nino Eilets Publisher Luciano McNulty Editor Maya Kalabic Art Director PHOTOGRAPHER David A. Lee CONTRIBUTORS Chris Astrala, William Cooke, Mona Elyafi, Dann Foley, Chris Heritage, Michel Khordoc, Jill Langham, James Murphy, Jimmy Newsum, Larry Olsen, Terri Schlichenmeyer & Adam Sinicki EDITORIAL CREDITS :

BrandPoint, Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation & Project Publicity The Standard Magazine is published monthly. Opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions of the Standard or its staff, advertisers or readers with exception of editorials. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, business or organization in articles or advertising in the Standard is not to be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of such person, business or organization. The Standard disclaims any responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Advertising rates are subject to change without notice. The Standard reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to reject any advertisement for any reason including, but not limited to poor taste. It is the policy of The Standard that we only publish letters to the editor that are signed by the author and verifiable by phone number. We can reserve the right of anonymity upon request. The letters need to be original, in good taste and free of libel as well as edited for clarity and grammar. Letters are subject to editing by The Standard that also reserves the right to decline print. Please forward your letters to: The views expressed is not necessarily those of The Standard. Copyright

The views and opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Standard Magazine staff, and/or any/all contributors to this publication.

2013. All rights reserved. No portion of the publication may be reproduced in any form without the expressed consent of the publisher.


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Every year we say the same things, “Where has the year gone?” “Is it that time already?” “I have no idea what to get him/her/them.” Well it IS that time again and if you are starting to wonder what to get those certain special people in your life, we might be able to help. The annual Standard Magazine Holiday Gift Guide to the rescue. So fear not my fellow procrastinators we are here to help you find the perfect gift, weather naughty or nice. And don’t forget to get a little something to put under the tree for yourself.

KANO COMPUTER Learning to code doesn’t have to be boring, and the Kano Computer Kit proves it. You can build their own computer and learn to code with art, music, apps, and games. You do need an external monitor of some kind, but it’s a great way to spark interest in technology at any age.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE Can’t decide which of our amazing gourmet clubs is going to make the perfect gift? With our Variety Club you can mix and match any of our clubs to create a personal gift that’s perfect every time!

MOOD LIGHTING Create signature scenes in any room at home or in the office with this set of interlocking LED panels, which snap together to form an infinite number of geometric designs.

GLOBAL GLASS Celebrate those dearest to you with these elegant 100% recycled glass globes, handmade in Canada by Stephen Kitras and featuring an interior glass trunk that branches out to support vibrant splashes of


BOSE SOUNDLINK PORTABLE WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER You can bring this portable speaker pretty much anywhere. Plus, did we mention it’s water resistant (hello beach!). Experience up to 12-hours of playtime on full-charge thanks to the rechargeable battery.

THE NEW ECHO SHOW Because now Alexa can actually show you how to do things instead of just telling you! Watch your video flash briefings, listen to music or watch videos, enjoy hands free face-toface calling, hook it up to your home security cameras or monitoring systems and simply ask Alexa to “show you the front door” to see who’s there. It can basically do everything that your first echo could do, but now way more!

FITNESS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Say adios to your smart watch and get more stylish with this fitness tracker ring. It’ll not only track your steps, calories burned, and distance traveled, but it’ll also alert you when you have a text/email message and is totally waterproof!

PHONESOAP SMARTPHONE SANITIZER & CLEANER Thanks to the magic of UV lights, you can now sanitize your phone as much as you want. Say goodbye to gross germs and hopefully anything and everything “flu.”

THE ULTIMATE BEARD HAIRCARE PACK All natural facial haircare set, featuring beard oil, whisker wash and mustache wax. Keep it clean and fresh. Also, made in the USA!

CANON POWERSHOT D30 12.1MP WATERPROOF DIGITAL CAMERA Canon’s waterproof digital camera features a depth rating of 82’, is shockproof to 6.5’ and freeze-proof to 14°F. This camera can be as adventurous as you want to be.

CLUE, THE GOLDEN GIRLS EDITION The best way to thank you for being a friend.



STARRY, STARRY NIGHT Now you can ‘technically’ sleep under the stars 365 days a year; with this 8,000 stars home planetarium.

COME FLY AWAY Cool retro vintage style weekender bag features artwork for Palm Springs Airlines.

QUENCH YOUR THIRST IN STYLE Stay on trend with any of these trendy S’well water bottles that, literally, almost every celebrity has been photographed with.

VENICE PRIDE FLAG LIFEGUARD TOWER REPLICA Celebrate equality in your home or office with the Venice Pride Flag Lifeguard Tower Model Kit inspired by the real-life tower in Venice Beach, California created by Artist Patrick Marston. Model kits are handcrafted and ship seven days after purchase.

GET HITCHED FOR THE HOILDAYS Because all that sparkles just isn’t on on the Christmas tree


GIVE IT A RUB Authentic bottles from the popular “I Dream of Jeanie” TV show

DHARMA YOGA WHEEL Anyone who wants to get more flexible or maintain their mobility needs this yoga wheel. You can keep it at your desk, next to your couch, or in your closet.

FIESTA FORGED KNIFE BLOCK SET A chef is only as good as their tools, and these knives are top of the line.

MOONDELI GOLDEN TURMERIC POWDER Several studies have confirmed turmeric’s health benefits as an anti-inflammatory agent and digestive aid, but it also just makes everything taste better.

A PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH On its own, your tongue can only distinguish five tastes; it works with the nose, which can distinguish hundreds of smells, to produce flavor. This kit lets you make weird and wonderful flavor combinations by dosing your nose with smells while you eat from the scent-releasing Aromaforks. Your food will never taste the same again. LET THE FORCE BE WITH YOU 3D Star Wars R2-D2 Cuff Links

THE GIFT OF GIVING American families are falling through the cracks. Your gift delivers essentials like brandnew clothing, blankets, personal care items — even toys. And thanks to donations from clothing manufacturers, a gift that would normally help one child will now help eight.





FOR THE SWEET TOOTH We doubt that these made it on your Dentist’s wish list.

SEX IN THE KITCHEN Aphrodisiac Cookbook is an explosion of potent ingredients intricately mixed to create libido enhancing meals & drinks.

WHAT BETTER CANVAS After your romantic dinner for two, save room for dessert with this award winning personalized Chocolate Body Paint.

RELAXATION AND THEN SOME When you are ready for the ultimate massage, look no further than the Oil of Love line of massage oils by Kama Sutra.

FRENCH TOYS A staple of any queer woman’s closet, created by French entrepreneur, Alice Derock, the mastermind behind the lesbian sex toy empire Wet For Her. This new sexy toy called Union is an absolute must for every lesbian. It’s the empowering gift that keeps on coming (pun intended)

ROMANCE SQUARED Releasing natural aromas and pheromones as they melt these massage candles will melt down into a warm and sensual massage oil that glides smoothly across the skin helping to turn up the heat on those romantic nights. A SPIN ON TRUTH OR DARE Giving a new meaning to game night; 30 seductive prompts and dares each sealed in an envelope ready for the taking.


NOT YOUR TYPICAL C-RING Esculpta is a unique men’s accessory label that blends the most ancient desires of man, with finesse, playfulness and sensual intimacy. Esculpta’s stunning jewelry range includes silver men’s bracelets, men’s silver necklaces, sculpture pendants and men’s silver cockrings.

Come see our new larger Palm Springs location! PALM SPRINGS

745 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, CA 760.322.3400 •


8443 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA • 323.424.3005

Joyful Traditions

December 15-17, 2017 Annenberg Theatre Palm Springs Art Museum A festive collection featuring all that is glorious with family and friends during the holidays.


Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock

April 6-8, 2018

Annenberg Theatre Palm Springs Art Museum All the magic and excitement of the Summer of Love along with the intensity and life-changing experience of Woodstock.

Season Tickets:


GIFT GIVING… SHAG STYLE SCOOTERS OF THE WORLD GLASSWARE Visit Rome, Paris, Palm Springs and London via vintage scooter with this highball drinking glass set.

PALMS SPRINGS HIGHLIGHTS EMBROIDERED PILLOW Points of interest, some well known and some surprising, are featured on this vintage style embroidered and printed pillow.

COCKTAIL ROCKS GLASSES Leave no doubt as to what’s in your glass with these screen-printed rocks glasses available in four different color schemes.

WELCOME TO PALM SPRINGS PILLOW This imitation mohair pillow travels down Highway 111 to welcome visitors to the desert oasis.

TIKI TISSUE BOX COVERS Cover your Kleenex with an exotic tiki temple or wooden god and blow your nose in style.


JUST WAITIN’ TILL FIVE CROW WALL CLOCK It ‘s Five o’clock somewhere. PASSPORT HOLDER & LUGGAGE TAG Be the envy of your fellow travellers with this J is for Jetsetters Passport Set.

NOVEMBER 2017 13

A WORLD AIDS DAY CELEBRATION saluting the Valley’s

for their dedication in helping to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic

DECEMBER 1, 2017 Camelot Theatres

5:30 pm – Champagne Reception 6:30 pm – Awards Show & Entertainment featuring James Snyder & Bruce Vilanch 8-10 pm – Cocktail & Hors d’oeuvres Reception Event Co-Chairs – Terri Ketover, Ann Sheffer & Tom Truhe Honorary Chair – Michael Childers





Special Performance by Television and Broadway’s

James Snyder

Tom Oliver & Matthew Stocker HONOREES

Announcing the First Annual State Farm Good Neighbor Award

SPONSORed by Tim Wood & Jim Scheibel

Nominated by the local community.

Hosted by

Bruce Vilanch

Musical Director: Christopher Marlowe

$40 general seating | $75 preferred seating | $150 VIP seating





Big or small, fluffy or shorthaired, young or old, everyone loves photos of adorable pooches. So what happens when you pair the cutest pups on earth — who just happen to be in need of forever homes — with beautiful, hunky men? The year’s most buzzed-about calendar, that’s what. Photographer Mike Ruiz’s 2018 calendar, “HeartThrobs and Hounds,” is thirteen months of perfection (1 bonus month in 2019) that will put a smile on your face every day of the new year. Mike Ruiz is a celebrity photographer whose clients include Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and even legendary pop icon Prince. In addition to his work in Hollywood, Ruiz is known for shooting top male fitness models. “I admire men who have sculpted their bodies into works of art,” he says. “It takes incredible skill and knowledge to form human tissue to near perfection. Photographing their work is quite gratifying to me.” The hunks in “HeartThrobs and Hounds” are some of the biggest male fitness models working today including James Alexander Ellis, Dragos Sykos, Myles Leask and covermodel Mike O’Hearn. Each has hundreds of thousands of followers online as well as a personal link to animal advocacy. Mike Ruiz, too, is an animal rescue rockstar. He saved Oliver, a beautiful pit bull who had been left for dead, five years ago. Through Oliver, Mike was inspired to help other dogs like him by fusing his two passions — photography and dogs in need — together into an annual calendar. The dogs that appear in the calendar were chosen at random and represent only a

fraction of those in need. “We get multiple calls and emails every week from people looking to re-home or surrender their pets,” says Nancy Flint, the founder of Fur Friends in Need, a foster-based rescue organization that was introduced to Mike Ruiz through animal advocate, Millie Acosta. “We try our best to help as many of these animals as possible so they do not end up at kill shelters. We also reach out to local shelters to see which animals are on the TBD list (To Be Destroyed) to see if we can match them with appropriate foster homes before it’s too late.”

misconceptions about rescue animals. “People mistakenly assume it is the fault of the animal that it ended up being surrendered or abandoned,” says Flint. “I would say 90% of our animals have no issues whatsoever. It’s their humans who have failed them.”

“That’s why we urge people to consider fostering animals,” she continues. “The more fosters we have, the more animal lives we can save.” Michele Schafer from Lilo’s Promise Animal Rescue, the other beneficiary for this year’s calendar, agrees. “When a person fosters a dog, they are saving two lives: the dog they welcome into their home and the dog that takes that dog’s place in the shelter.” Flint and Schafer hope the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar helps to shatter

Every dollar made from the sale of the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar will go directly to Fur Friends in Need and Lilo’s Promise animal rescues. “The calendar makes a perfect holiday gift for any human being with eyes and a pulse, and it brings awareness to our furry friends in need,” says Mike Ruiz.

Adds Schafer, “Shelter pets are not second hand goods. There are amazing animals in shelters all over the US, including Aladdin and Bordeaux who are featured in the calendar. They simply need a little love to shine!”

Mike Ruiz’s 2018 calendar, “HeartThrobs and Hounds,” is available for only $19.99 at or http://

NOVEMBER 2017 15




The queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race are spreading cheers and queers throughout the world this holiday season in their hilarious, new comedy musical show, Christmas Queens. Produced by Voss Events in collaboration with Producer Entertainment Group (PEG), the tour will launch Wednesday, November 29th in Stockholm, Sweden and continue through Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles; wrapping up Saturday, December 23rd in San Francisco. Michelle Visage will host with performances by some of the jolliest queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race including Manila Luzon, Ginger Minj, Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O’Hara, Peppermint, Thorny Thor, Willam, and Ivy Winters. “Christmas is the most magical time of year,” says Ginger Minj from her Florida home. “I love to spread marshmallows and gumdrops all over my bedroom walls so I feel like I’m living in a real ginger bread house.” “And I love sucking on a good peppermint stick,” says season 9 runner-up Peppermint, adding: “You won’t find this unique combination of talent, production and fan interaction with any other Christmas show out there. We are festive with a capitol F.” “No one brings the cheer and merriment like these queens,” explains producer Brandon Voss. “Like Santa, they have been working all year in order to bring fierce new


holiday looks, never-before-seen theatrics and over the top production numbers that put a unique spin on many of the world’s favorite holiday carols. Christmas Queens is a collaborative effort and it’s incredible to watch all the girls come together on some unbelievably creative numbers.” Voss Events is a leading production

company that consistently delivers superior entertainment programming. Past events have included stars such as Lady Gaga and Cher. Tickets for the Christmas Queens WORLD TOUR are available at www. Note: talent lineup will vary by city and is subject to change. Check website for more information.

NOVEMBER 2017 17


I want to share with you what those who know me are very aware…I LOVE CHRISTMAS! It’s the most wonderful time of year. Everything about the holiday makes me smile, makes me happy. It probably comes as no surprise that I have a knack for the decorating part. And of course, I have a bunch of tips and tricks here this month for you to use in your own home. The place I like to begin is the tree. Many, if not most of us by now know that a pre-lit artificial tree is not only the best for warm weather locales but, it’s also the most stress free way to enjoy your tree. There is a trick to making any artificial tree look its best and when done properly, friends might actually think it is real! It all comes down to the “fluffing” of the tree while you are assembling the sections. I actually use gloves because even the artificial tree can get prickly. Here are some tips to get it right. • With each section, begin on the inside branches and work forward, shape stem and “fluff” them for fullness and proper direction. • Do the same with each following section until complete. Undecorated, your artificial tree may appear a bit sparse, but don’t worry, once you add your ornaments it will fill out beautifully. • Watch this video from Christmas décor leaders Balsam Hill for help.


Once your tree is perfect you can use what you have learned about “fluffing” artificial trees and apply it to the rest of your holiday décor. My rule is, if you store it and reuse it, then it must be cleaned and fluffed each year to look its best. That includes the tree, wreaths and all of those wired ribbon bows too! When you have your home all ready for the Holiday, it’s time to turn your efforts to wrapping all of those fabulous gifts you found by reading through the rest of our special Holiday Shopping Guide. Wrapping is one of my favorite things to do. I am known as much for my wrapping as I am for my taste in gifts (most often good taste but, sometimes I have learned I can miss the mark LOL). I have never wrapped a gift that I have not heard the words, “it’s too beautiful to unwrap”. Fabulous wrapping enhances even the most simple of gifts. There is a process and I am going to share it with you. • THE BAG. I am going to shock and upset many of you but I rarely use a gift bag. They are easy for sure. They can even be quite good looking. The issue is too many people use them as an excuse to do sloppy quick wrapping. For our purposes I am going to say, stay away from them! Once you know how to properly wrap and present a gift then you can and apply many of those techniques to gift bags. • THE BOX. Today’s collapsible boxes are very lightweight and as such they need some added support to make it easier to box and wrap your gifts. I always have the stapler handy when wrapping. Begin

by stapling the four corner joints of both the base and the lid. This will lend the needed stability. • THE TISSUE PAPER. I keep a selection of tissue paper for every occasion but at Christmas you have a veritable tidal wave of options. Of course, white tissue is always acceptable. I suggest using a quality tissue and be generous. Think of the tissue as part of the beautiful wrapping and you will realize that better paper makes for a more impressive and beautiful presentation. • The Wrapping Paper. I keep a large selection of papers that I collect all year long to use during the Holidays. Before you panic over the cost of it all, I am here to tell you that I buy the vast majority of my wrap at discount stores. Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Homegoods are some of my favorite Christmas wrap stores! They not only offer a large selection at great prices, they sell higher quality papers. Quality of the paper is what makes wrapping easy. The heavier the paper the easier the job and better the results. • THE RIBBON. The bow is like jewelry to a great outfit. I use a variety of ribbon and wired ribbon on my packages. I also layer mesh or translucent ribbon over solid colored ribbon to create a truly gorgeous look. • Check out my bow making video here: The art of bow making is not as difficult or daunting as most people believe. To this end, I created a wrapping and bow making video a few years ago. I invite all of you to watch and get inspired to create wrapping as festive as the Season! Live Well, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

NOVEMBER 2017 19




ILDK’s message is particularly important at this moment in American history with a Trump administration that is continuously acting in a hostile way towards the LGBTQ community; and for those feeling demoralized by recent politics that seem to prioritize men’s contributions over women’s. I, as both a woman entrepreneur and a member of the LGBTQ community (married to my wife for the past 3 years), have continuously been committed (under the ILDK marquee) to amplifying women’s voices through pitches/ stories; and supporting the LGBTQ community by championing campaigns focused on social & political causes directly affecting it. After years working for some of the top entertainment PR agencies in Los Angeles (including The Lee Solters Company), I took a leap of faith


and launched my own PR firm, ILDK Media, in 2004. The main objective in using my influence as a publicist, was and still is to not only empower women but as well artists exuding a genuine passion for their artistic craft and professional vocation. The saying that a publicist is a storyteller speaks volume. The fact that you can pluck someone from near obscurity and thrust him/her into the spotlight with the right narrative is an immensely meaningful notion to me. My continuous goal is to be an inspirational trailblazing voice in my community by telling stories that act as a catalyst for change and move both the media and the public towards a more inclusive mentality. I have been very fortunate to work on many LGBTQ projects that have focused on uplifting our community, teaming up with some incredibly talented individuals that I am proud to call my clients. From


transgender activist Michaela Mendelsohn (Transcanwork), Mariah Hanson (The Dinah Shore Weekend), Christin Baker (tello films), E. Jag Beckford (Rainbow Fashion Week), to Marlene Forte (The Fosters, Familia), among others, these are all LGBTQ PR campaigns that spark more than a dialogue about diversity and equality, they’re also leading the mainstream headlines making front-page news. To have media institutions – whether it be Forbes, LA Times, NBC. com, NY Times, CNN, to name a few - give your LGBTQ clients a mainstream platform to tell their stories to the world helps pave the way toward acceptance because it puts a human face on sexual orientation and gender identity. Staying at the forefront of change, ILDK has been instrumental in making LGBTQ agendas move into mainstream culture. Every LGBTQ PR campaign has, in its own way, aided in the empowerment of our community and contributed to changing the conversation about gays, lesbians, and/or transgender today. Working hand in hand with clients to champion social and political causes that directly affect our community, we cultivate long-term partnerships with a variety of associations including GLAAD, HRC, Equality California, The Trevor Project and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. At the end of the day, the most rewarding aspect of my profession is the knowledge that I, via ILDK, am involved in the very process of helping to change minds and hearts.



I invite you to visit the website for more info:

NOVEMBER 2017 21




Your someday-dream job is not for wimps. That’s truth: it’ll be real work, and you’re prepared. You know it’ll take training, which will take time. You’ll have to learn to think differently, and that’s okay. You might get discouraged, and you’ll handle it. But – as in the new novel “Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller – are you ready to die for it? At first, Sallot Leon thought the scrap of paper might be money. Erland nobles had been doing that – making money – ever since the war, when Nacea was obliterated. But no, this bit of paper was worth more than money: it was an open call for a replacement member of the Queen’s Left Hand, an elite group of assassin-guards. Come by invitation or by skill, the poster said. Sal had the skill, for sure. Since Sal was eight years old, they worked as a street fighter and could climb anything. There was nothing they couldn’t steal, no lock they couldn’t pick. Those were skills the Queen needed, just as much as Sal needed to be Opal for the Left Hand and so, to get into the audition, they committed their first murder. That, as it turned out, was the easy part: after passing the first interview, Sal was accepted and given a mask to wear at all times, the last mask awarded. Twenty-Three people were in the competition, for which the rules were simple: kill your competitors without being seen or getting caught, but don’t hurt anyone not competing. Nine competitors were killed the first night. As other Opal Wanna-Be’s fell almost hourly, Sal had to rely on past experience and new skills to stay alive. Core-strength training helped them dodge spears and arrows from other competitors. Tutoring eliminated illiteracy. Medical training kept Sal from death by poisoning. But there was no way to avoid falling in love with someone forbidden, nor the aftermath that was sure to come… Though it starts out a little on the clunky side and it may take a minute to get your bearings, “Mask of Shadows” quickly becomes a pretty good novel. And a unique one, too: it’s rare to find a gender-fluid character in a main position, but that’s where author Linsey Miller places hers – and yet, though unusual, fluidity isn’t the driving force behind this story. We don’t know, in fact, that Sal doesn’t gender-identify until later in the novel. That’s uncommon, too. As for character development, there’s where Miller shines. Sal starts out a bit feral, a street-wise petty thief, uncivilized but with hungry focus. There’s a lot of selfishness in that early Sal, but as

they mature into a trained assassin, allegiance and a much finer character replace egotism. Add in a cast that could, one-by-one, die at any minute and, well, you’ll be hooked. For fans of The Hunger Games-type fiction, that’s gonna be too appealing to pass up. It’s gonna be too delicious to deny yourself. “Mask of Shadows,” for readers age 15 and up, is gonna be a dream book.

“Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller c.2017, Sourcebook $17.99 / $24.99 Canada 352 pages

NOVEMBER 2017 23



It may not seem that the LGBT community has a lot to be thankful for this year. Whether it’s revoking transgender rights to serve in the military, arguing in federal court that it’s completely OK to fire someone for being gay, or maintaining that religious belief trumps the civil rights of the LGBT community, the current administration continues to demonstrate their opposition to the LGBT community. But we’ve battled homophobia before and we’ll do it again, all to the beat of our own drum. Here are the latest tracks playing on gay dance floors this season of thanks. “Crash” / Billy Winn “Crash” is the first single from out artist Billy Winn since he split with his record label two years ago. Written and produced by Billy and Mark A. Barrie of the production team Madscience, the song is a super intense, emotional, and dynamic electro pop record, similar to his previous hit records, “Cruel Intentions” and “He Won’t Do,” but with less of a dance focus. The song marks a true evolution for Winn as he begins to explore deeper topics of love that he says he has been experiencing as he’s grown older and, supposedly, wiser. “Crash” is about the complications of love, especially when it’s one sided. It poses the question: What is one supposed to do when feelings develop for Mr. Wrong? It’s a question many of us ask, especially today when casual hook-ups are as easy as picking up your phone.


“#FixYoFace” / Epiphany Mattel Transgender Hip hop artist Epiphany Mattel is known for being raw, unapologetic, and provocative. In her latest beat-driven club banger, she takes aim at pretty people who make themselves ugly at clubs by brandishing that resting bitch face that makes them unapproachable. It’s a party bitches. Lighten the hell up; otherwise you’ll have Epiphany to deal with. And trust me, you don’t want to mess with this dangerous beauty who stands strong in her truth, even if it offends others. While she rarely starts trouble, Epiphany Mattel isn’t afraid to finish it. “Run” / Music Bear Tony Banks Featuring EarthTone and Yo! Majesty’s JwlB The second single from the hip-hop bear’s upcoming Yes, Homo album has a driving beat that is meant to move booties while enlightening hearts and minds. Produced by the artist and featuring out rappers EarthTone and Yo! Majesty’s JwlB, the House infused Hip-Hop jam was inspired by today’s racially charged climate. Music Bear Tony Banks uses rhymes to urge fans to get up and do something: create community programs, get to the polls and vote for politicians that are going to unite municipalities and stop police brutality and harassment once and for all. It’s a message for the black community, the Muslim and LGBT community, as well as all communities that are feeling victimized by the heavy and often unfair hand of the law.

“Stars” / Kristine W Kristine W returns to the dance floor with “Stars,” the second single from her soon-to-be released album. With soaring vocals, an infectious beat and heavy bass line, “Stars” is the definition of party track. However, listeners who peel back the high-energy layers will hear a deep and important message beneath its surface. The song is about coping with life’s difficult transitions: a good friend moving away, children leaving to chase their dreams, or a loved one dying. Change is inevitable and in “Stars,” Kristine reveals the emotional rollercoaster she has been going through with her recent divorce. The song is a beautiful reminder that like the stars that fall from the sky, the people who disappear from our lives will always remain in our hearts. We should celebrate the light they brought — and always will bring — to our lives. “Remixes” / Black Stereo Faith House music legends Ultra Naté and Quentin Harris are back with the first package of remixes from their alt funk collaborative album, Black Stereo Faith. The collection features “I’m Too Sexy (Touch This Skin)” and “SNL,” reworked and reimagined by some of the biggest DJ/producers on the planet including David Morales, Benji Candelario, Vjuan Allure and Craig C. The standouts are David Morales’ dark, subby, and full-ofattitude version of “I’m Too Sexy” and Benji Candelario’s Frankie Knucklesesque version of “SNL” (featuring Inaya Day and Darryl D’Bonneau). Also, have to give props to Vjuan Allure for serving some raw; dramatic

Baltimore beats for the ballroom queens in his version of “I’m Too Sexy”. “Can’t Let You Go” / The Hound Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can, as The Hound demonstrates in his new song that he wrote while in the midst of an incredibly toxic relationship. The electronic pop track is passionate and heartfelt. It examines how relationships define us and how whether it’s with a lover, a friend, or family, the worst ones can be impossible to let go of. The music video, starring adult film performer Adam Ramzi — and banned from Instagram for being “too sexually explicit” — brings the song’s lyrics to extraordinary life, featuring some incredible dance moves by The Hound and Ramzi. “Internash” / DEX Experience DEX Experience is serving fierceness worldwide with the release of “Internash,” the first single from his upcoming album. Combining catchy lyrics with bitchy base, the empowering, feel good, party track has a 90’s sound set against a sassy, modern day kick. Written and produced by DEX and DJ Omri Anghel, the song is about embracing the world as your playground. It draws inspiration to a happier time for the LGBT community, when pre-millennium supermodels mesmerized, amused and enthralled every time they walked the runways and graced the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. For tickets and more information, please visit

NOVEMBER 2017 25



In Steven L. Coard’s new film, The Lady in the Locket, Qeescey Green (played by Shawn Singleton) is dumped by his male lover, Travis (played by Coard), on his 35th birthday. Distraught and fed up, Qeescey makes a birthday wish that he never falls in love again. Later that day, a mysterious box appears at his doorstep. Inside is a locket. Once Qeescey takes hold of the locket, he is transported into it where he meets Lareema, the Lady in the Locket (played by TS Madison), who gives Qeescey a test of love. “I drew inspiration from the Sarah Michelle Gellar film, Simply Irresistible,” reveals Steven L. Coard from the Jersey City studios of Color of Love Production. “I wanted to create a similar film with an African American LGBTQIA cast.” Coard says many black gay men who are over 35 and still single, have become jaded at the idea and prospect of finding true love. He points a critical finger at black gay men themselves, who, too often, are only attracted to the outside appearance of men and do not take the time to see past a person’s flaws.


In the film, Qeescey Green’s flaw, according to Travis, is his job as a phone sex operator. Qeescey enjoys the job; has been at it for a long time, and especially loves working alongside his fun-loving best friend, Yadiris Ramirez (played by Magda Suriel). Travis, however, likens the job to prostitution and uses religion — an undeniably strong influence in the African American community — as his justification to end the relationship. “Of course it’s a cop out,” explains Coard. “Travis is like many gay black men who are closed-minded and afraid to commit to anyone who walks outside of what is considered ‘the norm.’” Coard’s message to viewers is to be unapologetically you and stop trying to be like everyone else. “Find that person that appreciates your so-called flaws,” he says. The Lady in the Locket was shot last month, over three days, in Jersey City, NJ. Coard chose Shawn Singleton, an actor he worked with previously on his film, Raye, for the lead role, because, “I love Shawn’s comedic timing and I needed someone who could play off TS Madison’s high energy.”

NEED FOOD? Singleton is also one of Coard’s students at Color of Love Production Studios Acting School in Hoboken, NJ. For all of his films going forward, Coard aims to cast his students, whenever possible, so that they get experience working with big name talent like Madison. Coard had originally cast another actor to play Travis, but when the actor couldn’t do it, he stepped into the role. “It’s a challenge for me to play these unlikable characters because I’m so likable in real life,” he laughs. The Lady in the Locket is being distributed by Color of Love Production Studios, an award-winning production company founded by Steven L. Coard that specializes in creating stories about the LGBTQ community of color. The studio especially strives to focus on unique issues of relevance to the gay African American experience. Previous films include Raye, Heartbreaks and Soulmates and last fall’s critically acclaimed romantic comedy, Don’t Marry Griff. Steven L. Coard is also the founder of The Color of Love Production School for Film, Television, Theatre a place where LGBTQ talent of varying disciplines can work together in a supportive environment to create exciting visual projects. “It’s an exciting time for people of diversity to be working in film,” he says. “We are hard at work, making memorable ‘diverse’ characters like Qeescey and Lareema that have mainstream appeal.” The Lady in the Locket is out now. Visit

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Critically acclaimed Los Angeles playwright & Professor of Dramatic Writing at USC School of Theatre, Oliver Mayer is readying to bring to the theater stage his new work, Yerma in The Desert. The play is inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s play YERMA, but brings the story into an immediate present informed by current issues of immigration, racism, sexual identity and gender inequality. Lorca himself means so much in this historical/political/cultural moment for us. He was murdered in 1936 by Spanish fascists for being gay, and for being a cultural lightning rod for the times who wrote about characters fighting the constraints of cultural and political fascism. Though fascism has not overtaken our country (yet), these themes are back in our daily lives making headlines. Sexual difference, child-bearing concerns, changing and hypocritical roles of men and women (particularly among folks of color), Power in the workplace, and Shifting relations between men and women at work and in the bedroom-- these are Mayer’s big themes, and with Yerma In The Desert they fuse with Lorca to speak loudly towards liberating us all from political constraints and cultural extremism. No stranger to provocation Mayer, already in his 20s ignited a firestorm with his controversial play “Blade to the Heat” about a 1950’s nobody-turned-championship boxer forced to confront his own sexuality after a dethroned champion accuses him of being gay. Mayer himself was more often than not accused/rumored to be gay because of the recurring homosexuality theme in his plays. And while Mayer, who is married to the talented Latina actress Marlene Forte, might not be gay but holds the LGBT community close to his heart and close to home as his mother has been with her partner for over 20 years (since the passing of Mayer’s dad). With this new play, Mayer gives us a cautionary tale that reminds us to stand together.



One of the most influential faces of Los Angeles Arts & Theater community, Mayer talks to us about Yerma, fascism, and the role of the artist in times of Trumpism. - Can you tell us a little bit about Yerma in the Desert? What is the story about? It’s a new play about a woman desperate for love and sexual expression. Yerma is dying for intimacy with her husband, who refuses to give her what she needs. The plot follows that painful mystery.

When Federico Garcia Lorca wrote “Yerma” in 1930’s Spain, it was a shocking portrayal of female desire that infuriated the macho Fascists who were about to seize power. Full frank sexuality was like Kryptonite to Generalissimo Franco. My “Yerma in the Desert” brings elements of the Lorca play to our present American moment as we ourselves teeter on the edge of Fascism, and as our expressions (sexual and otherwise) feel more and more under fire. Hopefully our play will be Kryptonite to Trumpism. - What was your motivation for wanting to give Lorcas’ Yerma a modern version? For one thing, Lorca is a playwriting god; he can look Shakespeare in the eye, and give Sophocles a few pointers. But his “Yerma” has haunted me for a long time. We now are beginning to understand and define gender and sexuality, not to mention types of attraction, in ways that better describe who we really are. In the way that Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz took Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” and created “Anna in the Tropics” to try to better understand Cuban American identity, I’m taking “Yerma” and using it to try to understand the behavioral patterns and power relations that still make problems between lovers, and that create a totem pole of power that extends beyond the bedroom into our economic and societal identities. These are questions worth asking. - Federico Garcia Lorca was an out writer who tragically was assassinated for his homosexuality. What similarities do you draw between his time and now? How have we evolved, or not? We have evolved in many ways, and yet here we are again -- at a moment of national danger, with people in positions of power who would limit us in so many ways if they could. By being out, Lorca

showed future generations how to be fearless in a dangerous time. But the Spanish Fascists not only murdered him but also silenced his work for generations in Spain. The scars are still there. The stakes were high. The stakes are high now, and it is essential for artists to be fearless and outspoken whenever possible. Fascists past and present are scared of sexuality because it can’t be controlled; the laws of attraction reveal that the fascist system is unsexy and out of touch. Lorca outlived his silencers because his message is universal, compassionate and life affirming. It appeals to our innate sense of freedom. I’m appealing to that part of ourselves now. - What is your personal connection to the LGBTQ community? I’ve tried to be an ally. I have a long connection to LGBTQ primarily through the theatre. I was on the artistic staff of The Mark Taper Forum when Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” first came to be, and I learned a great deal from him during the development and production of that milestone. My own play “Blade to the Heat” pushed gender and sexuality to the very edge through a portrayal of Latinx boxers gay and straight. Of the thirty plays I have written to date, I keep coming back to sexual identity as a way to understand what’s really going on with my characters. - How do you see the LGBTQ community moving forward under Trump presidency? There’s going to be trouble. Trump himself seems neutral around LGBTQ individuals, but he’s sold his presidency to the Ultra Right, who would regulate every American bedroom if they could. Violence goes hand in hand with their totalitarian views of governance. I expect a frontal attack on what they would call “morals” at any point. But there’s strength in numbers, in history, and in being right. I

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STAGE say don’t cower; don’t run. Some fights are worth fighting. - Your plays are known to have a recurring homosexuality theme as well as a strong focus on women. What is the engine that drives you to be socially engaged? Why do you seem to always stand up for the “underdogs”? My spiritual godfathers in the theatre are William Saroyan and Luis Valdez, two underdog California writers who are nothing if not socially engaged. My obsession with sexuality is something I cannot deny. And I think you can fairly accurately judge the quality of a writer -- whichever gender -- by their female characters. So many writers forget to give the women in their stories three dimensions, dreams, secrets, & fears. I work hard to make sure that never happens in my plays. - In your opinion, what is the ultimate role of an artist in this world? e.e.cummings says it best: “Always the beautiful answer who asks the more beautiful question.” The artist asks with all their heart, mind, soul and intelligence, with all the passion they can muster. - What’s in store for Oliver Mayer in 2018? On March 22 2018, my play “Members Only” opens at LATC, produced by Jose Luis Valenzuela and The Latino Theater Company. It’s a big deal for me, because it’s the sequel to “Blade to the Heat” -- 20 years later, not only for the surviving characters from the first play, but for me the writer. The first play ended around 1962, so this begins in 1982, that fateful year when AIDS was named. Hopefully, people will feel the pumping heart of that time through my characters, the world of boxing, and that amazing music. Also, people can see a scene from “Blood Match” at LATC (Nov 2-4) in a late-night micro theater festival that’s part of the larger Encuentro (Nov 2-19).

IF YOU GO Yerma in the Desert Nov 17-Dec 16 Fridays 8pm Saturdays 2pm & 8pm Greenway Court Theater 544 N Fairfax Ave LA Tickets: 323-673-0544

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HOLIDAY SOCKS A BENEFIT FOR SANCTUARY PALM SPRINGS Holiday Socks is a fun-filled benefit for Sanctuary Palm Springs – a transitional housing program for LGBTQ foster youth and their allies; on Sunday, December 3 from 5pm-7pm at Spencer’s Restaurant Bougainvillea Room. Cocktails, lavish hors d’oeuvres, a fabulous silent auction, plus a raucous live auction co-hosted by a celebrity guest. There will also be special surprise entertainers. Get your holiday groove on in support of Sanctuary Palm Springs. It all happens at Spencer’s Bougainvillea Room - the perfect setting for a warm and convivial Holiday cocktail party! Sanctuary Palm Springs is the first of its kind home for LGBT foster youth and their allies. At SPS, LGBT foster youth gain the life skills needed to be productive and successful members of society. Our youth ages 18-21 are either working at least 80 hours a month, going to college or vocational school, or studying for the GED. Your

donations help support the Matched Mentor Program and provide the essentials that our youth need to not just survive, but to thrive! Tickets and information available at www.sanctuarypalmsprings. org/events or by phone (760) 766-3500.

PALM SPRINGS’ CHICKEN RANCH TEAMS UP WITH THE CORRIDOR TO PRESENT MOVIES UNDER THE STARS! From November 22 through June 20, Palm Springs’ Chicken Ranch restaurant will host The Corridor Cinema Series, in downtown Palm Springs! This monthly food-and-classic movie love fest, will be held in the center courtyard of The Corridor, located on Palm Canyon Drive between Alejo Road and W. Chino Drive in the design district. Featuring classic movies like “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Sixteen Candles”, “Moonstruck”, and “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” (among others!), The Corridor Cinema Series hopes to unite friends and family for a monthly gathering of fun, great food, and shared cinematic excitement.


“I always think movies are better when they’re shared, don’t you?” says David Morgan, co-owner of Chicken Ranch and creator/ producer of The Corridor Cinema Series. “Movies are funnier, happier, sadder, and just… better when you can share that experience with friends and family,” he says, adding, “throw in a beautiful outdoor setting and some great food and cocktails. What could be a better way to spend a mid-week Palm Springs evening?” Morgan’s Corridor Cinema Series is designed not only to engineer a new and unique movie experience for desert dwellers; he’s flipping the table on the concept of “movie munchies”. In addition to classic movie munchie fare like popcorn and candy, Chicken Ranch will be serving up delectable offerings such as a cheese, fruit and

PSP FOCUS nut plate, free range fried chicken strips, orange chicken, salad wraps, chicken soup, and farm fresh salads. Wine, beer and cocktails (as well as bottled water and sodas) will also be available. “We love movies, and we love good food. Mostly we wanted to create something new and different for people to enjoy mid-week,” Morgan added. “It’s about getting together, having fun and creating memories with your friends and family. Fun movies and great food do that well, don’t you think?” The Corridor Cinema series kicks off November 22 at The Corridor courtyard in Palm Springs with “The Devil Wears Prada”. For tickets, information, and the full list of movies planned, visit their Corridor Cinema Series page on Facebook, or their ticketing site at www. Let’s go to the movies, Palm Springs!

2017 WORLD AIDS DAY CELEBRATION Everyday Heroes Honors Local Community Members In Action On World AIDS Day – December 1, 2017, Desert AIDS Project will honor four community members who’ve made it their mission to get into action by supporting its mission to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community. This year marks the fourth year that D.A.P. will celebrate World AIDS Day by shining a spotlight on unsung local heroes. The event will be hosted by Bruce Vilanch and feature a special performance by Broadway’s James Snyder. This year, attendees will applaud Art Hall, Lynn Hammond, Mathew Stocker and Tom Oliver and the recipient of the First Annual State Farm Good Neighbor Award. “World AIDS Day is a day many of us take time to remember those lost and to renew our resolve to take action moving forward,” says Darrell Tucci, our Chief Development Officer. “Everyday Heroes is meant to remember and honor the everyday person going to extraordinary lengths to support those living with HIV and to bring an end to the epidemic. We’ll be honoring people who contribute their time and talent to supporting the mission of Desert AIDS Project.”


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Hello again! Is the season upon us, or what? Wow, where did the time go? It is already November and in a mere 9 weeks it will be 2018! It’s hard for me to believe that another year has gone by. But, we are approaching the gift-giving season and it is always a tough one for me. Have I gotten old or cynical when I say that the holidays no longer hold any special meaning for me? It has been such a long time that I have gotten into decorating or even buying gifts for my friends or family. It is not such a “Bah-Humbug” thing but more the reality that I don’t need anything and outside of a few friends who might, the rest of my close clan appears to not be in need of anything as well. So, what does one do?


I believe the gift of health is always one that any of us can benefit from, and that is where I choose to focus my attention. I often write about nutrition in these articles and find that giving a nutrition consult as a gift has been well received. I know and am acquainted with a large number of people and am generously invited to many events throughout the year. I wish I could tell you that I have unlimited funds for gifts, but, I do not. Therefore, I try to be generous with my knowledge and offer either a nutritional consult or a review of one’s training program as I have found that we are all creatures of habit and our training routines have become stale, boring, monotonous or ineffective. When I meet with a friend or client, I ask them to show me what they have been doing at the gym. At times I will suggest that they

alter the order in which they are performing their exercises to help shock the body, which appears to be the latest trend. I might also encourage them to move from machines to using free weights. I will check with them to see if they have an injury that is on going or not healing and will make a number of suggestions that they may try to promote healing. Shoulder injuries tend to be the number one complaint that I hear from my clients and I was right there with them! Years ago, I was an avid push-up girl. No, not a push-up bra girl or a pin-up girl, but a girl who did large numbers of push-ups! I could easily do 50 push-ups a day. At the same time, I suffered from some type of shoulder problem that never progressed but also never healed. Now, I suspect you know where I’m going with this but trust me when I tell you that I never put the two things together. At some point, I began doing chest-dips and low and behold my shoulder would hurt even more! Then I was taught how to do chest-flies and surprisingly, my shoulder got even worse, but I was not making the connection. I believed that my shoulder was getting injured on shoulder day. (Made sense to me, right?) And, was extra careful on those days to not strain my shoulders and used baby weights but still had a lot of pain. Finally in 2004, the pain became so bad that I could not train my upper body for about 2 months. At that time, it took another trainer to show me rotator-cuff exercises to alleviate my shoulder pain and it amazingly worked. Now, having taken off the 2 months also meant that I was not doing all of the chest exercises and it gave my shoulder a rest as well. But, it would take me another 5 years before I realized that my shoulder was getting injured on CHEST day! Who knew? I have shared this story with many clients who also suffered from shoulder pain and am pleased to say that the majority of them made adjustments to their chest workouts and are now living pain-free lives! It is my hope that you might consider some of these changes in your own training program and know of course that I am available to assist you if need be. I have always hired a trainer to assist me when I have competed because the trainer will always get more out of me than I will out of myself. Here’s wishing you all a terrific Thanksgiving Holiday. Be well, eat well and train wisely! XOXO

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? BY CHRISTOPHER HERITAGE I’m occasionally asked to file a petition for legal name change for a client, and I’m always interested in why people want to take on a new moniker. Both famous people and ordinary folks change their names, and they usually have some very good reasons to do it. Let’s take a look at some of them: Most of us are not celebrities, and want to request a name change when there are changes in life situations that require a new social and legal identity: Take back a maiden name after a divorce Take a natural father’s name after out-of-wedlock-birth, or adoption by a new parent Change to a pen name, or maintain a maiden name after marriage Simplify a name that is complicated, hard to spell or hard to pronounce Change a name when there is a change in gender identity When one simply dislikes the name he or she was given at birth Celebrities often change their birth names to something that has more impact, is easier to remember and sets them apart from others in their line of work. Many legally change their names before they become famous, preparing for themselves an identity that will be unique and memorable in the public eye. Here are a few of the many celebrities who have changed their names. Did you know all of these? Judy Garland Woody Allen John Wayne Joan Crawford Kirk Douglas Elton John Ralph Lauren Michael Kors Vin Diesel Whoopie Goldberg Lady Gaga John Legend Lorde

Frances Ethel Gumm Allan Stewart Konigsberg Marion Robert Morrison Lucille Fay LeSueur Issur Danielovitch Demsky Reginald Kenneth Dwight Ralph Lifshitz Karl Anderson Jr. Mark Sinclair Caryn Elaine Johnson Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta John Roger Stephens Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor

And, of course: Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jeane Mortenson


The court can’t deny a name change to anyone 18 years or older, unless the name is being changed for fraudulent purposes. You can’t take the name of a celebrity or anyone else, for example, if the intent is to defraud others. You can’t change your name to avoid debts or liens. You can’t change your name to hide from the law or police, or for any other illegal reason. If you are on probation or parole, the court may deny your application unless you have written permission from your parole officer. Individuals who are in state or federal prison may apply for a name change, but must secure written permission from state or federal officials in the prison systems. In California, it is possible to change your name by the “usage method”, which is your common law right. You simply start using a new name for every purpose, 24 hours a day from now on, and never use your original name again. But in our current environment, this is not a very practical method. Nearly all state and federal agencies, banks and other institutions require a court order legalizing the change. You can’t get a new social security card, passport, driver license or bank account without that order. Your common law usage of a new name won’t fly with all the regulations that are designed to defeat identity theft, fraud and terrorism.

How to Change your Name 101: File a Petition for Name Change with the Superior Court in the county in which you live. The filing fee in Riverside County, California is $450. The entire process from start to finish will take 3 months or so from the date of filing. An Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form with a hearing date will be issued. You must publish it in a newspaper of wide circulation in the county. Publication fees will likely be $100 or more. The purpose of publishing the hearing date is so everyone in the area can learn of your plans, and have an opportunity to object. It is very rare for anyone to attend the hearing or to object to a name change. There are a few petitioners who will not be required to publish the form: individuals in the State Witness Protection Program and in the address confidentiality program who are victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault may file additional paperwork to avoid publication. Also, those who are requesting a name change to conform to gender identity are not required to publish. Attend the hearing and if all goes well, the Judge will sign and issue a Decree for Name Change. This order is the official document legalizing your new name. It is a good idea to ask the court clerk for several certified copies of the Decree. You will likely need them for the last steps in the process of changing your name. The final step in the process is to apply for a new social security card, driver license, car registration and passport. Certified copies of the Decree must usually be provided to state and federal agencies. Request a name change on your bank, retirement and investment accounts, credit cards, and utility and other routine household accounts. Update your Will and your Trust documents. And once all the legwork is done, throw yourself a little party to celebrate the brand new you!

This article is part of an ongoing series of articles pertaining to legal issues relevant to the LGBT community, and is intended for general information purposes only – not legal advice. Christopher Heritage is an attorney in Palm Springs and San Diego, who focuses on LGBT estate planning, domestic partnerships, same-sex marriage, probate, trust administration, and bankruptcy. He welcomes questions and comments and can be contacted at 760-325-2020 or at

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James Arena is a published author, freelance writer, host and commentator who has interviewed over 160 singers, songwriters, producers, DJs and mu-sic industry professionals from around the world. James takes a look at the fascinating pop music history through the memories and anecdotes of these performers and singers, songwriters, producers, responsible for some of the greatest hits in dance music history. James generously shared his time with us recently to talk about his background and publishing journey. For anyone with an interest in music history, he gives us a fascinating look at pop music through the past four decades. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready for that trip down memory lane.


The Standard Magazine: Thank you James for taking the time to speak with us. So let’s get right to it—How did you get your start? James Arena: It’s great to be speaking with you. My love affair with dance music began when I was about 17 years old. I had no real interest in pop music before, but one night in 1977 I saw a singer named Andrea True (The Andrea True Connection) on TV. She was performing a song called “N.Y., You Got Me Dancing,” which set off a spark in my brain. I loved this high-energy song—and within weeks had discovered the world of disco music. Gloria Gaynor, The Ritchie Family, Carol Douglas, Chic, Vicki Sue Robinson—I just dived


in-to their music and never turned back. I felt a deep connection with this mu-sic’s melodies, beats, voices and uplifting power—and it never let up. I devoured dance music throughout the 80s, 90s and 21st century. I will never give it up. For almost over 22 years I worked in the music industry, including as an executive with BMG in New York (the company that owned RCA and Arista Records), in their direct marketing division. When my corporate career there ended, I decided the time had come to start documenting the lives and accomplishments of the dance music vocalists, producers and industry professionals I admired so much. The only books out there focused on the general eras and club culture. There were none about the artists them-selves. So I thought I should try to fill this void and get their stories collect-ed and published. I didn’t want to just talk about them; I wanted the artists themselves to tell me their memories of what happened and how they feel about their careers today. The end result has been a series of books/e-books covering five decades of dance music, published by McFarland & Co., available worldwide. First La-dies of Disco, Legends of Disco, Europe’s Stars of ’80s Dance Pop, Stars of ’90s Dance Pop and Stars of 21st Century Dance Pop and EDM. In all, I have interviewed over 160 artists to date from around the world. TSM: Tell us about which of those interviews standout the most to you and why. JA: It was personally quite extraordinary to communicate directly with all these artists. Every one of them has contributed a

great deal of joy to my life. I don’t say that casually—I don’t know what life would have been like with-out their music. My life was made better by their efforts. It was almost surreal speaking with legends like Martha Wash (“It’s Raining Men”), whose roots go back to the days of the icon Sylvester, Amii Stewart (her “Knock on Wood” single still dazzles), and Gloria Gaynor (“I Will Sur-vive”), who, along with Donna Summer, remains one of the most recognizable names in dance music history. When I think about what I’ve experienced, it seems almost impossible. I’m so glad I’m on this journey, and so thankful these books have been published. These artists’ stories are now preserved in a proper, respectable medium. I was completely thrilled to speak with Pete Burns of the seminal 80s group Dead or Alive (“You Spin Me Round”). He passed a short time after our interview, which emphasized for me the value of documenting the words of these artists. TSM: You asked several Disco era artists if they thought that Disco music ever received an appropriate level of respect and recognition; did they? JA: The fast answer is—no, if we are speaking of classic 70s disco. By and large, most artists did not feel their music was given the legitimacy and respect by pop culture it deserved, especially during the disco backlash of the late 1979 into the first few years of the 80s. I think over-saturation of the market, this sort of ridiculous battle of rock vs. disco, and a series of campy, cheesy dance records contributed to a decline in disco’s popularity. But once the 80s got underway, a new

NOVEMBER 2017 41

Q&A era of dance pop from Europe and the US revived disco and helped it evolve in fresh and highly exciting ways. Dance music, as it was simply called, was able to top the charts worldwide, along with other pop genres, and today I’d argue it has never been more popular. Dance music has a long and proud history of helping people through both good and bad times, and it has a unique ability to empower the masses. There’s something about that beat—the way it matches our heartbeats and even accelerates them—that is irresistible. As we get older, perhaps dance music feels like something that is relegated to our past, our youth, and therefore it seems less important that its rock, country or R&B counterparts. But then a DJ puts on a record like Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and everyone is rocking to the beat again. I suppose, for me, my biggest disappointment hasn’t been the fact that the media and pop culture historians sometimes trivialize dance music. I feel sadness when an artist wants to disconnect from the label “dance music artist” or “disco artist.” It’s true many artists were capable of performing other styles of music and are uncomfortable that only some of their music (in this one particular genre) is their claim to fame. I get that. But, in my eyes, having a dance hit that people love, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40-plus years later is a badge of honor few will ever get to wear. I think they join the naysayers in undervaluing their contribution towards making the world a more enjoyable place to be. TSM: Was Legends of Disco written as a sequel to First Ladies of Disco?

career quite fascinating. She wasn’t the best singer by a long shot, but there is something hypnotic about this song, its melody, percussion and hook. Her first hits were a sort of a “gateway drug” for me, and I can still feel my heart race when I hear these tracks today! Andrea passed a few years ago, and I was heartbroken I had been unable to reach her for my first book. However, I interviewed one of her former producers, Michael Zager, and famed remixer Tom Moulton, to get a better under-standing of who she was for the chapter I devoted to her work. TSM: More recently you have written books on EDM (Electronic Dance Music) & Dance Pop, what are the main differences between the two genres? JA: Dance-pop is a broad term that reflects the dance music heard from the 80s onward—I suppose in some ways it replaced the word “disco.” So, in the 80s and 90s, music of all types—house, HiNRG, Italo-disco, dance-rock, and other sub-genres—crossed from the clubs to the pop charts and radio. That continues to this day. EDM probably has a million sub-genres by now, and it’s a combination of poppier sounds that hit the mainstream and more underground, rave and party-oriented sounds geared for events that are often staggering in size held around the world. EDM is largely the genre of star producer/DJ, and usually less about vocalists, in terms of the spotlight. I’m speaking very broadly, of course, but it shows this constant evolution that dance music is experiencing. TSM: Finally, what’s next for you?

JA: Yes, it was. I had focused on the female vocalists in the first book, but soon realized there were a lot more women—and men—I needed to recognize for their accomplishments. And after Legends of Disco, I felt I must honor the incredible artists that came out of Europe and the UK in the 80s. Can’t ignore the 90s and 21st century, either. So one book led right into another! As I reached the home stretch writing one book, I immediately began the next. TSM: What do you consider the quintessential disco song of all time? JA: It’s such a tough question, given the thousands of songs that made an impression upon me. My choice—which is strictly based on my own preference— is “More, More, More” by, once again, the Andrea True Connection. This was the singer’s first and biggest hit. It’s hard to explain why I love this song so much. Andrea was, believe it or not, a 70s porn star at the time, and I found her dual


JA: My book looking at dance music from Europe and the UK in the 80s, Europe’s Stars of 80s Dance Pop, has been very well received. It was an incredibly challenging book to write, as I reached out to over 32 major artists from France, Italy, Germany and other countries. It was an extraordinary opportunity to share English interviews with these stars, whose stories have usually been relegated to their country’s primary language. I’m currently working on the sequel to this book, a Volume 2, which will include detailed talks with some more of the decade’s biggest selling hit makers. That should be out later in 2018. All the books are available on Amazon and Google Play, or wherever one gets books online. I’ll also be continuing to support the touring First Ladies of Disco Show, inspired by the book, and sharing news and interesting info on my Facebook (James Arena) and Twitter/Instagram pages (@JamesArenaNow). And waiting for someone to say these books should be turned into movies or Broadway shows!


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“Let me holla atcha!” So, there is a slang expression that says, “Let me holla atcha!” Those words can take on several meanings. To the geek-of-the-week, one may interpret it as, “hollering or yelling” at someone. To those of us with true street cred, one may interpret it as someone who is asking to borrow some money. That really is a funny and accurate interpretation for those of us who are really informed. However, simply put, the expression, “Let me holla atcha!” just means, let me speak with you. As we approach the holiday season, I suggest you avoid the negativity that some people experience. Some people are literally


warming up their voices to start singing a verse of, “Who done me wrong” song. Instead, “Let me holla atcha!”(smile) I would like to take you on a fantastic getaway. That’s right! I’d like to take you on a trip and it is not necessary to change clothes. You can keep on what you are wearing. Ready? Let’s go! Picture this, Tulsa, Oklahoma 1967. I can so vividly see myself laying on the living room floor with my sisters as we watched the multi-color light wheel illuminate onto our beautiful, albeit artificial, white flocked Christmas tree. We thought our parents were rich because of how elaborate the decorations and number of packages underneath the tree. How appropriate to shield a child’s innocence and allow them to view life through

rose-colored glasses or in my case, a multi-color light wheel. While not to confuse you with a Norman Rockwell story, I really did look out of the front window onto a street covered in snow. The calmness of the street; the Christmas lights on many of the houses; the one television on inside and the unity that me and my sisters felt was so tranquil that even mentioning it now transports me back to a feeling that I would like to store in a bottle and open whenever I need a swig of unspeakable joy. Now, as we say in the country, “Here is something that is free and don’t cost you nothing”. Why would we deprive ourselves of such wonderful memories? Why would we allow our minds to stay pre-occupied on unpleasant memories? You should allow yourself to feel happiness. It doesn’t matter what you have been through, if you are reading this article, then I have some good news! You have weathered the storm. That’s right! Troubles don’t last always. This holiday season does not have to be riddled with worries of not being able to purchase gifts. If you noticed, in my stroll down memory lane above, I never mentioned any of the gifts that were opened from underneath the tree. You know why? Because it has been 50 damn years and I don’t remember any of them. What I do remember is how sweet my sisters were, and still are. I remember how we were giggling and laughing about ANY thing. Perhaps one of us burped or bumped into the wall. It didn’t matter, we were happy. In my mind, I can so clearly see us in our pajamas and that we talked until we fell asleep. One thing that was NEVER a thought in our household was that Santa Claus was coming and we needed to leave some milk and cookies. Nah! You can be assured if any cookies, especially Oreo cookies had been left for Santa Claus, I would have conjured up some justification as to why I should eat the cookies so that Santa wouldn’t get sick or wouldn’t be too tired to deliver the other gifts, because I absolutely knew that I wasn’t last on the list. What about you? Can you pause just for a moment and close your eyes and think of a holiday memory that is absolutely…. beautiful? Would you be willing to enjoy those moments…again? The truth of the matter is…you can! I realize that part of the holiday season is a blatant reminder of family and friends who are no longer with us. However, as a military veteran, I am comforted by the adage, “You honor the dead by taking care of the living!” Isn’t that nice? We would like to give our many readers a FREE holiday gift or rather a “holla-day” gift. Simply email us at esteem@roadrunner. com and tell us, “What holiday memory do you have that makes you laugh, smile or cry with happiness? We will post the responses in the next issue, and as always, will maintain your confidentiality. We will email you a fantastic holiday (holla-day) gift coupon. Please accept this personal invitation to visit and learn about educational and scholarship opportunities for people of all ages. As a nation, we MUST change our culture, our learned behavior, so that it can reflect an expression of love in ways that we have only dreamed.




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EVENTS CALENDAR specific hours. All galleries are open during our monthly First Wednesday Art Walk from 5 to 8 pm.

NOV 14 PALM SPRINGS SPEAKS. PALM SPRINGS A collaboration between the Palm Springs Cultural Center and Friends of the Palm Springs Library, Palm Springs Speaks features a diverse selection of internationally known speakers and authors. Starting on Nov 14 featuring author and creator of the ”It Gets Better Project” , Dan Savage. For feature dates, locations and scheduled speakers visit


NOW THRU JAN 15, 2018 KINESTHESIA. PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM This exhibition is the first in-depth examination of the pioneering role-played by South American artists in the international Kinetic Art movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Grounded by scholarly research into experimental art movements of the late 1940s and early 1950s in Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Rio de Janeiro. NOV 22 - DEC 24 25TH ANNUAL WILD LIGHTS. THE LIVING DESERT, PALM DESERT Marvel at over a million twinkling lights, as the desert’s favorite holiday tradition returns! Discover the herd of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns, explore the pathways decorated in holiday lights and new this year get up-close to Santa’s reindeer.


BACK STREET ART DISTRICT The Backstreet Art District boasts a diverse collection of galleries & businesses where you may meet artists, visit working studios and enjoy fine art all in one location. You can find most galleries open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm, but nothing is set in concrete. We are a collective of boutique galleries and regretfully cannot always be in two places at once as we get called out on a variety of business items. Please check with any gallery regarding

TG MONDAYS. TRANSGENDER SOCIAL EVENT Every second Monday of the month, Transgender Social Hour discussing advocacy, transitioning & HRT. Allies, respectful admirers, and transgender umbrella all welcome. Portion of proceeds to benefit the Raina Chessman Fund. For more info PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission every Thursday night from 4-8 p.m., sponsored by the City of Palm Springs. This provides an excellent way to start a trip to the City’s VillageFest, the popular weekly street festival held every Thursday night along Palm Canyon Drive.

CHILL BAR PALM SPRINGS A warm and fabulous twenty first century modern venue located on Arenas, suited with multi faceted rooms for any celebration. The gorgeous island bar is surrounded by hi-definition video entertainment and a comfortable designer lounge. Chill on the patio enjoying music and refreshing beverages with friends after a game of pool, or come by and say hello to our friendly staff. Open for business seven days a week. Get out of the heat, and come join us! 
Happy Hour (From Open to 7pm) and Late Happy Hour (From Midnight to Last Call)

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EVENTS CALENDAR THE SUNDAY BAND W/ SPECIAL GUESTS. PAPPY & HARRIET’S PIONEERTOWN The Sunday Rock + Roll Service is a Pappy and Harriet’s institution celebrating the healing powers of music and community! Every weekend the club’s favorite singers and players get together and trade songs. Come join us to see Victoria Williams, Gar Robertson, Carol Ann Crandall, Damian Lester, Bob Furgo, Rachel Dean, Ryan Norman, Caleb Winn, Danny Frankel and other talented locals performing for your drinking and dancing pleasure. With a come-as-you-are vibe, Sundays have seen great special guests like Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, The Jayhawks, Rickie Lee Jones to name a few.

THE JUDY SHOW. PURPLE ROOM SUPPER CLUB PALM SPRINGS The spirit of Judy Garland is alive and well and in Palm Springs at the famed Purple Room Supper Club every Sunday at 7:00! This blend of hysterical comedy and outstanding music explode into an evening of nonstop belly laughs, glamour and high camp, as celebrated entertainer Michael Holmes parodies Judy Garland, who in her 1964 television variety show, played host to some of the greatest female icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

THE SCORPION ROOM AT CHILL BAR Every Thursday night at 8:00 sharp. Hosted by Pinkie Meringue Shimmer with a rotating cast of fabulous drag stars from all over Southern California. Wonderful show people, photo ops and audience participation, and wonderful drink specials.

OSCAR’S CAFÉ & BAR Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs on the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon, Oscar’s has a huge outdoor patio with lots of umbrellas for shade and misters to keep you cool, too. You can beat the heat any time of year and enjoy the views of Palm Springs. On Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 2pm, enjoy a $9 Bottomless Mimosas (juice included), a single $2 mimosa or a $5 Bloody Mary with brunch, during which both our full breakfast and lunch menus are available. Also join us for Sunday Funday Weekly Tea Dance 4pm-Close! Live entertainment weekly visit our website for details.

LIPSTICK AT COPA Thursday nights at Copa just got a little hotter with a new show at the new showroom inside Copa. The Hot New Lipstick show is a raucous affair where the audience is encouraged to participate in singing, clapping, dancing, partying and celebrating special events. Featuring performances by Charles Herrera, Pinkie Meringue Shimmer, Marina Mac, Sassy Ross, Dion Khan, and Cherilyn, and emceed by the fabulous Bella Da Ball, this show will not disappoint. For ticket info and schedule of performers visit

HUNTERS NIGHTCLUBS® Palm Springs, Palm Springs’ go-to gay bar and dance club, has been leading the way in full-out fun for 16 years now! And we keep it pumping, making it better for you all the time with our unparalleled event line-up. We enjoy having

the desert’s most sought-after and friendly DJs, full-on themed events, and a staff that has it all without the attitude. And of course, we are proud to hold the longest happy hour in the entire Valley. Remember: Size Matters. Come by for our happy hour from 10am- 7pm. Yes, that’s right: 9 hours long! For a list of all events and specials visit

SUNDAYS “The Playgirls” at Toucans Tiki Lounge featuring Tommi Rose. Performances at 8 & 10pm.These darling Divas of drag really deliver with their very own brand of entertainment to packed houses. Special guests appear weekly. DJ in the sound booth. Every Sunday Complete list of events FOR A COMPLETE CALENDAR OF EVENTS VISIT OUR MEDIA PARTNER, GAY DESERT GUIDE. CLICK ON LOGO

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TRANSGENDER JOB & RESOURCES FAIR LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA Presented by the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP), this job and resources fair caters to the city’s transgender community. Contact 323-860-3713 or for more info.

NOV 9 - 12

3RD ANNUAL AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL DRAG FESTIVAL. AUSTIN, TEXAS We’re back and bringing on the FIERCE! Once again, Austin, Texas becomes the center of the Drag Universe as hundreds of Drag Artists from all over the world descend upon the city to entertain thousands of Drag fans and each other. This is the crème de la crème of the Drag world. Each artist will be displaying their greatest talents for your education and entertainment.

NOV 16 - 19

LAS VEGAS TRANS PRIDE WEEK. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Six days of events, that brings Pride, Awareness, Remembrance, Empowerment, Celebration and Support from our beloved Allies to the Transgender Community. For a complete schedule of events please go to


NOV 23 - 26

THANKSGIVING BEARFEST 2017. AUGUSTA, GEORGIA Come and celebrate the season at the 18th Annual Thanksgiving Bear Fest at Parliament Resort. With a history of amazing crowds and fantastic events, we are looking forward to another amazing Thanksgiving weekend with you and all of our other members and guests. Always an amazing weekend, the Annual Thanksgiving BearFest Weekend is a celebration of Bears, Cubs, and Admirers. Mark your calendars and book your rooms for this sellout weekend event.

NOV 25 - DEC 3

FORT LAUDERDALE PIG WEEK 2017. FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA Fort Lauderdale Pig Week has it all. 8 Days have thousands of piggy men packing into the city for over 40 Events. The Legendary Leather Masked Ball, Ramrods Pig Dance, Pool/Play Parties, Seminars and Beach excursions. This is a party for everyone in the Leather/Bear/Muscle/ Jock communities. Because all men are Pigs!

NOV 23 - 27

33RD ANNUAL WHITE PARTY WEEK. MIAMI, FLORIDA White Party began in 1985 as a pioneering fundraiser to raise money for research and awareness on a new disease called AIDS. Thirty years later, the Party remains true to its roots as a primary income source for Care Resource, a nonprofit, multicultural, community-based AIDS service organization, which provides education, prevention, research, care and treatment, and support services. Surrounded by an entire weekend of events, Saturday’s actual “White Party” unites thousands of gay men and women dressed in white, creating a fairy tale party setting.

DEC 1 - 3

HOLLY FOLLY 2017. PROVINCETOWN, MASSACHUSETTS Three days of holiday revelry in Provincetown, from traditional carols around the piano to the not so traditional Speedo run down Commercial Street. Although it’s not what Currier and Ives had in mind, Holly Folly is a fun kick-start to the Holiday season with a line-up of events including Jingle Bell Run & Barefoot Champaign Brunch, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, dancing, and the popular ‘Shop Hop,’ where you vie for great prizes while taking advantage of major sales happening in Provincetown’s shops and galleries.

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EVENTS CALENDAR debates and events. The arts and cultural festival also helps profile human rights issues and makes a creative case for ‘Equality in all walks of life.’

the full advent season, starting November 27th.

NOV 6 - NOV 12

MASPALOMAS WINTER PRIDE CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN Winter Pride Maspalomas 2017 is the final gay pride celebration in the European calendar year. An open-air event with an average outside temperature of 23 degrees. One week of amazing events with live shows with international artists, pool parties, boat excursions, parade, dance sessions and more!

NOV 24 - DEC 4

IMAGE+NATION LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL. MONTREAL, CANADA image+nation@NFB is the realization of the longtime hope of creating an opportunity for LGBTQ stories to be told and heard—in all regions of the country and around the world. Too often, such works are only available at events held in urban centers, denying much of the population access. This crucial project is about democratizing LGBTQ voices and lives for all to witness and to share.

NOV 13 - 25

GFEST – GAYWISE FESTIVAL LONDON, ENGLAND London’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) cross Art festival for all. Produced by arts charity Wise Thoughts, GFEST features some of the established alongside fresh, young artists and queer talent working across the arts. Events range from art exhibition, performances, films screening,

NOV 9 - 18

OUTBURST QUEER ARTS FESTIVAL BELFAST NORTHERN IRELAND Our 11th anniversary program aims to reflect on what Home has been, is and can be for queer people all over the world. From the streets of São Paulo and Kingston Town to New York, Dublin and Belfast, our events bring to life both the unique stories and common experiences we have as LGBTQ+ in relation to place and belonging. We have our biggest ever program of participatory events in Outburst 11 and we hope that you’ll come along and find something that sparks your passion and imagination.

DEC 4 - 11

MAD BEAR 2017 MADRID, SPAIN Mad Bear’s 17th annual international meeting of bears, big men and admirers from Spain and abroad coincides with Spain’s biggest public holidays of the year. Mad Bear 2017 will offer you 8 days and 7 nights of partying and fun with bar fiestas, club dance parties, the best national and international DJs, dinners, competitions, trips, saunas, gastronomy and culture.

NOV 27 - DEC 23

PINK CHRISTMAS MUNICH, GERMANY For the 13th time “Pink Christmas” will open this years doors in the heart of the famous “Glockenbachviertel” in Munich. It is a small, pretty, colorful, diversified market - and as social as no other! Gays, locals and guests feel equally happy and are looking forward to the friendly vibes, the various and special stands, the famous tasty “Glühwein” as well as our unique nightly shows. Pink Christmas will be open during

Our international media partner, FNQ Magazine, Cairns gay lifestyle and travel publication that gives Australia and the world a taste of gay life in the tropics, sponsors the International Calendar.

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