Bishop James R. Mathes honored at 39th Nicky AwardsBottom Highlights, Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
Thirty nine years ago, the first Nicky Awards were held in downtown San Diego at the then Ball Express Disco (a former large warehouse). This past Sunday, the “gay academy awards of San Diego” returned downtown, this time to our new beautiful library.
It was another sold out crowd of our GLBT community family, friends and allies, many dressed to the nines and everyone looking fabulous.
The beautiful San Diego skyline could be seen through the huge windows surrounding the ballroom.
Executive producer, Allan Spyere promised a shorter awards ceremony with outstanding entertainment and he delivered.
For the first time in the history of our community a mainstream Christian church was recognized and honored with the annual Mayor George Moscone Humanitarian Award. A standing ovation was given to the Rt. Rev. Bishop James R. Mathes and the Episcopalian diocese of San Diego.
The pride of California, State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins presented the award and spoke of the decades of the Episcopalian Church supporting the civil rights of GLBT people, ordaining women and GLBTs as ministers and, yes, even bishops of their church. All of this at a great cost to the church because of its courageous stands of the affirmation of women and GLBT Christians. And how can we ever forget that it was this church that opened their doors for the funeral of the late John McClusker and his family when the Catholic Church and the bishop refused to welcome this gay man’s funeral mass at any of their churches in the San Diego diocese.
The annual Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award (established in 1979) was presented to Trans Pride which received a prolonged ovation from the crowd.
The ever-popular and beloved Chad Michaels received a rare Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts and the crowd went crazy for the world’s No. 1 Cher impersonator who has become an icon in the GLBT community. I am proud to say I gave Chad his first start in the Dream Girls Revue and now he has become a superstar but never let the fame and media attention go to his head.
The annual Michael Portantino Media Award went to TV personality and “fashion king” Leonard Simpson of KUSI TV News fame … simply a fabulous, wonderful man.
Once again, the Whittington family and their six-year-old transgender son Ryland Whittington stole everyone’s heart when they were presented a Harvey Milk/Nicole Murray Ramirez scholarship for his future education. As I’ve said, the Whittington family is true living “family values.” By the way, the video about this young boy’s journey has gotten almost eight million hits on YouTube!
Our very own City Council President Todd Gloria and School Board President Kevin Beiser helped present these figurehead awards chosen by the Nicky Awards’ board of governors.
This year’s awards broke all records with over 7,000 votes being cast. The Nicky Awards has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the GLBT community and its organizations and health and civil rights causes.
This past Sunday’s event was the one year anniversary of me being presented a city proclamation making me “Mayor of Hillcrest” so I dressed in my top hat and mayoral garb. Everyone said I looked like a cross between “Mr. Peanut and the Monopoly game man” … thanks a lot, you really know how to make an old queen feel even older!
The most coveted awards are the very last to be presented, and those are man and woman of the year.
And the 2014 winners were … Chris Ward (chief of staff to Sen. Marty Block and Eighth Council District candidate) and the beautiful and hardworking LGBT Center staffer, Sarafina Scappicchio.
The annual Nicky Awards are put on by the Imperial Court de San Diego (a special thank you to Empress La La and Board President Mikie).
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the Nicky Awards and a big celebration is already being planned. The Nicky Awards are always an evening of pride, community, family and outstanding achievement and recognition. Though I have retired from running the show and awards (a new generation has taken over) it is so wonderful to see that the Nicky Awards continue its reign as the longest lasting GLBT awards in the nation!
The complete list of winners:
Outstanding Straight Ally: Benjamin Nicholls
Outstanding New Business: Harvey Milk ‘s American Diner
Outstanding Pharmacy: Hillcrest Pharmacy
Outstanding HIV/AIDS Service Provider: Being Alive San Diego
Outstanding Community Organization: San Diego LGBT Center
Outstanding Community Organization: San Diego Pride
Outstanding Bank Wells: Fargo Hillcrest
Outstanding Sports Organization: America’s Finest City Softball League
Outstanding Neighborhood Bar: Flicks
Outstanding On-Line Media: SDGLN
Outstanding DJ/VJ DJ: Nikno
Outstanding Bar Event: WTF Party @ Rich’s
Outstanding Entertainer /Group: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
Outstanding Title Holder: Paulo Batista – Mr. San Diego Eagle
Outstanding Community Activist: Eddie Rey
Outstanding Writer/Columnist: Thom Senzee
Outstanding Achievement in the Arts: Clarione Gutierrez
Outstanding Levi/Leather Personality: Wish Linda
Outstanding Transgender Personality: Tracie O’Brien
Outstanding Impersonator: Paris Sukomi Max
Outstanding Female Personality: Kristy Salazar
Outstanding Male Personality: Will Walters
Outstanding Philanthropist: Chris Shaw and Doug Snyder
Outstanding Bar Employee: Jarrod Meade@ Betty’s
Outstanding Personal Trainer: Justin Allen
Outstanding Female Bartender: Freda – Gossip Grill
Outstanding Male Bartender: David Cope – Urban Mo’s
Outstanding Male Waitperson: Michael McCall – Harley Gray Kitchen & Bar
Outstanding Female Waitperson: Amber Charrette – Uptown Tavern
Outstanding Women’s Night: Finger Me Fridays – Gossip Grill
Outstanding Publication: Rage Magazine
Outstanding Bar Manager: Joey Arruda – Hillcrest Brewing Co
Outstanding Night Club/Dance Bar: Rich’s
Outstanding Bar Owner: Nick Moede – Rich’s and Numbers
Outstanding Restaurant: Wang’s North Park
Outstanding Restaurant: Martinis above Fourth
Outstanding Night Club Dancer: Jake Sawa
Outstanding Business: Obelisk
Outstanding Business Woman: Melanie Peters
Outstanding Business Man: Christopher Stavros – Babycakes
Outstanding Community Volunteer: Fernando Ponyboy Junior
Outstanding Brunch: Heat Bar and Kitchen
Outstanding Bar: Urban Mo’s
Outstanding Community Event: San Diego Pride
Man of the Year: Christopher Ward
Woman of the Year: Sarafina Scappicchio
Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for more than 45 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last seven mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. In 2013 Murray Ramirez was named “Mayor of Hillcrest” by a City proclamation. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com
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