Latest Issue – LGBT Weekly Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:40:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sprinting toward your goals Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:42:00 +0000

AWSD runners kick off_WTFAs a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!

I like this quote from Groucho Marx, “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself; ‘I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.’”

In Psalms we read, “This is the day that God has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice it doesn’t say, “This is the day that God has made, I will rejoice tomorrow – maybe. Or next week, if I don’t have so many problems.” The Psalmist says, “This is the day.” This is the day God wants you to be happy. No one else can ultimately make you happy. The key is to learn how to be happy within yourself.

Sometimes we have to say, “God, I’m going to take what You’ve given me, and I’m going to make the most of it. I’m going to be happy with who You made me to be. I’m going to enjoy my life, in spite of my circumstances.”

You know, your life compared to somebody else’s is a bed of roses. Don’t ever take for granted what God has done for you. You may have some obstacles today, but some people would give anything in the world to have your life. Some people would give anything to have your health and blessings.

We have so much to be grateful for. What would happen if we stopped focusing on what’s wrong and started thanking God for what’s right and good?

Did you know it’s a scientific fact that if you go through life in a negative frame of mind, always stressed out, worried and full of fear, your immune system will weaken, making you more susceptible to sickness?

Think of it! When you stay full of joy, your immune system functions at its peak performance levels. No wonder the writer in Proverbs said, “A merry heart does good – like a medicine.”

One of the healthiest things you can do is learn to smile more often. When we smile, it sends a message to our whole body. Studies tell us when we smile, certain chemicals are released that travel throughout our system, relaxing us and helping us stay healthy.

Scripture also says, “Whatever state you’re in, be content.” Being content means you trust God enough that you don’t get so frustrated when things don’t go your way. You don’t allow circumstances to steal your joy and keep you from being happy. You can decide not to let the little things get the best of you.

As we are striving to live our best life now, based on the book by Rev. Joel Osteen, aim for excellence and integrity in your life. God created us to be people of integrity, people of honor, people who are trustworthy. A person of integrity is open and honest. He doesn’t have any hidden agendas or ulterior motives. A person of integrity is true to her word. She keeps her commitments. When you have integrity, you’ll do what’s right – whether anyone is watching or not.

I know God has great things in store for you. Get up each day expecting good things. Be excited about today. This could be the day things turn around for you.

Stay filled with hope. God wants you to be blessed with abundance – an abundance of joy, an abundance of happiness, surrounded by strong, healthy, rewarding relationships.

God will take you places you’ve never dreamed possible. This is the day that God has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it! Amen.

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Of legislation, death, justice and love Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:37:12 +0000

This week an editorial from The Indianapolis Star found its way first into my email box, then my Facebook feed, entitled It’s not complicated — pass LGBT rights. Well, maybe if you live in California, but not in Indiana. One of the main problems the Hoosier state legislators are having with their civil rights bills is with transgender people. As Senate leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) elsewhere stated, “The ‘T’ (in LGBT) is a stumbling block at the moment.” State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) “heard concerns” from peer lawmakers, as well as constituents, then took the position that transgender protections should be tabled, then studied at a summer committee. Which, of course, would mean there would be a lot of years between LGB civil rights and T civil rights in the state.

Not that any of the Indiana bills proposed weren’t flawed; the bills all had huge religious exemption carve-outs that make them all troublesome bills to begin with.

There’s a quote from suffragist Alice Paul that seems to apply: “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” That said, when it comes to legislation, there’s nothing ordinary about ordinary equality.

In a piece written for The Advocate by Alison Gill and Brynn Tannehill entitled A User’s Guide to This Year’s Transphobic Legislation, they began by mentioning there were 20 pieces of anti-transgender legislation in 2015, but this year there are 28 pieces – so far. I didn’t need to find that story in my Facebook feed on Groundhog Day. The sheer number of bills year to year in some way reflects the “history repeating itself” aspect of the 1993 Bill Murray comedy by that name, but this story comes with none of the laughter.

Yet another item that found its way into my Facebook feed was the first reported transgender homicide this year. Monica Loera was shot to death early the morning of Jan. 22 in Austin, Texas. The Austin Police Department did what police departments often do, and identified Monica by her birth name, not the name she used in her day-to-day life. The transgender community didn’t even know they lost one of their own until Monica had been dead for about a week.

The alleged killer has already been arrested for first degree murder.

Closer to home in Baldwin Park, Stephen Justin Gonzales was found guilty of first degree murder in the slaying of trans woman Melony Smith in 2013. When Gonzales is sentenced Feb. 11, he’ll be facing 25-to-life for her murder.

Some justice, anyway, to read about in my email inbox. It doesn’t bring Melony back though.

Another story I’m thinking about that flew into my email inbox and Facebook feed was a story about a transgender Girl Scout named Stormi. According to BuzzFeed, Stormi was selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door in her neighborhood when she knocked on one door three blocks away from her home. A man opened the door, and after she made her pitch, he told her, “Nobody wants to buy cookies from a boy in a dress.”

Stormi didn’t react well to that. She cried to her foster mom Kim. Her foster mother and she moved her sales online to the Girls Scouts’ Digital Cookie, and Stormi wrote, “At my request my family will donate boxes to local foster kids like me!” And then Kim passed the story of Stormi’s experience to a trans family support site, and from there it went viral around social media. By Jan. 28, she’d sold more than 3,000 boxes of cookies; I know I bought a couple of boxes from her.

Stormi is going to remember the unkind thoughts of that man three blocks away from her home, but she’s also going to remember how the community rose up to send her love.

And that’s just what I want to think about at the end of this week: hope and love. I read so many articles on so many LGBT and trans-specific issues, that sometimes I forget that not all of them end badly. At the end of the day or week, there’s still room for love.

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Real estate investment: A checklist Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:13:49 +0000


Other folks do it and make a bundle. Why can’t I?

Buying real estate for investment is tricky. There are no guarantees that it will be successful as real estate values are cyclical, and you may not be jumping in at the low point. Being successful in making good real estate choices is key, and this requires thought and some expertise. Let’s talk about some of the things to think about before taking the plunge.

You can buy real estate for income and you can buy for appreciation, or both. Whichever you choose, some of the same pertinent factors apply. You’ll want a good location which means a safe neighborhood close to amenities, services and schools that prospective tenants or purchasers would like to live in. That’s number one. You’ll also want to choose a property that is in fairly good condition at preferably a below market price that can be improved with only cosmetic changes.

Let’s delve into the last. The more expertise you possess in maintaining and fixing things, the more suitable landlord you will be, and the higher return you can expect. If you’re not handy and have to pay professionals for any little things that go wrong (and there will always be something), you might consider buying art or stocks that don’t need tending.

Now let’s talk money. Purchase of investment property usually requires a larger down payment than a personal residence and interest rates on mortgages also tend to be higher. Real estate investment depends on leverage, the fact that you can make a small down payment and use the bank’s money to buy something you could not otherwise afford.

After you know you’ve got the down payment, it’s time to do your homework and thoroughly research your potential expenses. You’ll have mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance at the minimum. You also should figure in a vacancy allowance, as you will surely have months when the property is on the market, vacant and not generating income. To calculate your net income, take the rent you can reasonably expect, and then deduct your monthly expenses. The residue is your net income.

Let’s say the rent is $1,500 and expenses come to $1,000. You invest $60,000 in cash. To figure the return on your cash invested, take the $500 a month net income, multiply by 12, to arrive at a net annual income of $6,000. Divide that $6,000 by your cash, and you arrive at a return on investment of 10 percent. Given current returns on other investments, anything over about a 6 percent return would be a good investment, with 10 percent being considered excellent.

If you are buying real estate for appreciation, your plan is to resell the property at a profit. This may entail either having the opportunity to buy low for one reason or another, i.e. you have an inside deal or find a highly motivated seller, and you simply turn around and flip the property for its current market value. Another avenue is to make significant improvements to the property that increases its value, and offer the renovated property for a higher price.

Whichever path you choose, income or appreciation, information is your best friend in making a good choice and being successful. You are wise to look into neighborhoods that have been down, but have the potential to be gentrified, into not-so-great properties in great locations that can be improved, and in multiplex units where you can live in one and rent the rest. Real estate can be a great way to build wealth if you buy smart, are patient, and most of all, know just what you are doing. Good luck!

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The real winners and losers in Iowa Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:11:21 +0000

Monday night, Iowans cast the first votes in the 2016 presidential election. Sen. Ted Cruz won a clear, if somewhat small, Republican victory. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders by a razor thin margin to take the Democratic win.

The vote tally, however, has only a small role in determining a candidate’s position in the primary pecking order post Iowa. More important are how the candidates performed against expectations and what it projects for the New Hampshire primary, Feb. 9 and beyond. By those measures, Sen. Marco Rubio won the Iowa caucuses by finishing third among Republicans.

Rubio clearly beat expectations. He was rising in the polls, but not to 23 percent and a near tie with Trump. Rubio didn’t just beat the other “establishment” candidates (Govs. John Kasich and Chris Christie and former Gov. Jeb Bush) – he tripled their combined total. New Hampshire polls have been split between Rubio and Kasich as the establishment choice, likely in third place behind Donald Trump and Cruz. Rubio repeating in third place in New Hampshire might get other establishment candidates to drop out; coming in first or second would make him the prohibitive favorite from that group. Either way, the endorsement of Sen. Tim Scott gives him a much needed boost in South Carolina Feb. 20.

Thanks to the media and Sanders, Clinton won the expectations game in her narrow Iowa victory and laid the groundwork for an irrelevant day in New Hampshire. Sanders’ late surge in Iowa, including polls showing him ahead, started a discussion of “What happens if Clinton loses in Iowa and New Hampshire?” Those talks had two conclusions: Sanders needed to win both states, and Clinton could probably survive losing both. Sanders has now lost Iowa, and is so far ahead in the New Hampshire polls that anything less than a 20 point victory will be underperforming. Clinton now has Iowa in her pocket, can’t really underperform expectations in New Hampshire, and has already risen from the dead there once (beating President Obama in 2008).

Cruz played Iowa to an expectations draw. His victory was good enough, but not the resounding win anticipated when he first rose to the top of the polls. He scored only one more convention delegate (8) than Trump or Rubio (7), and didn’t crack 30 percent. Sanders similarly finished about even. Twin wins in Iowa and New Hampshire wouldn’t have given Sanders much of a chance of overcoming Clinton’s establishment support. Now he has the same smaller opportunity he had months ago when he was a good bet to win New Hampshire and lose Iowa.

If there is a loser among the top candidates, it’s Trump. Not because second place is terrible, but because he’s thrown the “loser” label at so many people that his competition, and Fox News, will turn it on him mercilessly.

Conventional wisdom says that Trump needs a solid victory in New Hampshire to keep his campaign afloat, but conventional wisdom didn’t predict any of the Iowa results a few months ago.

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Coen brothers recreate some unwelcome period detail Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:08:09 +0000

Channing Tatum in Hail, Caesar!

While I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers, I must acknowledge that they make some odd decisions that produce some ambiguous if not totally perplexing moments: The off-screen death of a major character in No Country for Old Men, the tornado that ends A Serious Man, the lack of any plot in Inside Llewyn Davis and pretty much all of The Big Lebowski. Usually, these weird scenes are aesthetically so interesting or so funny or, after some thought, thematically satisfying that the Coens get away with them, and they often end up being the most iconic parts of the films. But it doesn’t always work that way. Maybe I need a few months to think about Hail, Caesar! but right now, the over-stuffed incoherence and very odd political choices in the film don’t work. It’s rather unfortunate, too, because the Coens put together a fantastic cast and crafted a dozen or so near-genius scenes in Hail, Caesar! – including Channing Tatum in a nearly epic song-and-dance number – but it would have been nice to see they serve some purpose.

The film takes place over 28 hours in the life of 1950s movies producer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who spends his days fixing problems like last minute casting choices, pregnant single starlets and paying ransoms for kidnapped actors. Mannix was a real person (though he worked at MGM, not the film’s fictional Capitol Pictures) but no one else in the film is. Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) is a slow-talking and sweet cowboy singer who Mannix casts in a prestige musical directed by the effete Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes). DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is a crass star of synchronized swimming spectacles who becomes pregnant without a husband. And pampered, somewhat clueless Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is starring in a religious spectacle about a Roman soldier who has an epiphany during Christ’s crucifixion when he is kidnapped and held ransom by a group of bitter Communist screenwriters.

Mannix must solve the studio’s problems while trying to quit smoking and decide whether to take a cushy, much less challenging job at Lockheed. Most of the scenes are speedy and full of quick, snarky, period-inflected dialogue, but some of the plots are much more interesting than others. After DeeAnna Moran transforms from a classy bathing beauty into her true, if stereotypically low-class, self, her scenes aren’t terribly remarkable (and, worse, an event described as rather fun, if not hilarious, happens off-screen.) Hobie Doyle is almost absurdly charming in his difficulty in transitioning into a tuxedo-clad song-and-dance man, but after the initial fish-out-water moment, he’s shoe-horned into scenes where he doesn’t seem to belong. Baird Whitlock’s communist kidnapping is the most entertaining plot, mostly because the great absurdity of Clooney’s dopey and vapid Whitlock learning about the plight of the workers and the means of production from a team of earnest and angry screenwriters.

I kept hoping that everything would somehow tie together and Coen would develop some characters aside from Mannix. Mannix is the only one who has an interior life, but the key traist the Coens give him are duty and guilt. (The real Mannix was much more intriguing and complicated.) Doyle approaches some depth and then he’s pulled into saving Whitlock, for no good dramatic reason. Moran is a stick figure. And most frustrating to me, the gay critic, was how the homosexuality of one character is deeply tied to his ethic-less communism, the homosexuality of another is expressed through stereotypical speech and him being a sexual predator, and the bisexuality of a third is a deep, shameful secret Mannix is trying to keep through the whole film. Using gay men in 1950s Hollywood as punchlines, dirty secrets and evidence of evil is not the kind of period detail the Coens should be recreating.

Hail, Caesar!

Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney and Alden Ehrenreich

Rated PG-13

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Resiliency in the LGBT community Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:57:36 +0000


This past weekend, I attended the first annual Finding Freedom LGBTQ Symposium in Palm Springs, sponsored by Foundations Recovery Network. A wonderfully diverse group of professionals from across the country gathered together to explore best practices in addiction treatment for co-occurring disorders. We met and contributed our insights and observations to the unique issues facing the LGBTQ community who are seeking help for co-occurring disorders.

As I reflect on the weekend and how I as a treatment professional can best help the LGBTQ community, my thoughts turn to the resiliency of our community. Resilience is about our capacity as humans to tolerate and move on with strength after experiencing an adverse event. Resiliency is about how we each have the ability to learn, renew and recreate ourselves in the face of change, challenge and opportunity. It is about adapting and moving with hope toward the future. Every time an individual in the LGBTQ community overcomes an adverse event, it adds positive self-esteem and builds the confidence needed to overcome similar experiences in the future. So many LGBTQ people have been the brunt of discrimination, external and internal homophobia, bullying and rejection. These same individuals are also towering examples of resiliency as they exhibit courage and bravery to stand tall and proud despite adversity. Resiliency is about bouncing back, surviving adversity and growing stronger.

Far too many of our community have silenced their courage with the addictive use of substances. Substance use often starts out as recreational use to temporarily enhance mood and ease social anxiety. For the addict and alcoholic, the loss of authenticity and loss of self becomes more and more apparent as their use escalates. Resiliency is what has carried them past the torment of addiction. I encourage you to take an inventory of your own character traits that reflect the powerful reality of resiliency in your life.

First, let’s take a look at self-awareness. How well do you know yourself? Has your substance use gotten in the way of knowing who you really are? The character traits of determination and vision teach us about our ability to focus on setting goals for the present moment and future. As an LGBTQ community and as individuals, it is important to not allow an unhealthy distracted lifestyle to drain our determination and rob the vision from so many unique people in our community. Daily life can be complex and, at times, downright chaotic. The character trait of organization brings value and order to life. Addictive use of substances empties our lives of healthy relationships. Healthy relationships give us the hope and positive experience needed to survive and prosper.

For individuals in early recovery, building new relationships can be very challenging as they leave substance-using friends. Forging new relationships and negotiating life on life’s terms is a new experience. The personal interactions taking place in early recovery begin with new friends who understand and support a balanced sober lifestyle. Gaining trust in these interactions is a boost to self-esteem and generates confidence to remain drug and alcohol free.

The characteristic of how we go about solving problems is so important in recovery. Problems and challenges in life can no longer be avoided and swept under the rug. I teach that every problem has a solution. Resiliency guides us to solutions that enhance our lives and bring a sense of peace.

Lastly, self-confidence is attractive and draws others into our lives. The self-confident person owns his or her resiliency and reinforces others on the recovery journey.

Addiction is at epidemic proportions in our society and in our LGBTQ community. Take a moment to reflect on how the character traits discussed above have perhaps been compromised in your life or the precious life of someone near to you.

There is always hope to return to the life you had prior to substance abuse.

Patricia Bathurst, LMFT, is the director of Foundations San Diego, an outpatient recovery facility located in Hillcrest at 3930 Fourth Ave., Suite 301, San Diego, CA 92103. Ms. Bathurst is a certified advanced addiction counselor as well as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Questions for Pat? Contact Foundations San Diego at 619-849-6010.

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Valentines among the vines Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:50:00 +0000

Photo: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

Wine country is closer than you think!

“Happy Valentine’s Day. You’re being kidnapped,” I said.

“Where are you taking me?” he asked. “Lestat” looked good in tight jeans, flannel shirt and down vest. Beard trimmed short, neat. Cap cocked, all attitude. “Just get in the car,” I insisted, and he did. I had a surprise up my sleeve to celebrate the day dedicated to love and affection.

San Diego faded in the rearview mirror as we cruised up Interstate 15 – corporate offices became tract homes became orchards; shaggy clouds shuffled across a cerulean sky. On the radio, Marvin Gaye longed for “Sexual Healing”. An easy hour later, Temecula Valley sprawled sun-dappled across the horizon. Mt. San Jacinto, jagged in the clear distance, wore a snowy shawl. “Behold, wine country,” I said. Lestat squeezed my hand.

Native Americans, the Luiseño people, knew this broad basin as “Temecunga”, meaning “place of sun”. Spanish explorers interpreted the word to mean “where the sun breaks through the mist”. The auspicious mix of early-morning mist and midday sun – plus granite-based soils, provided the necessary elements for growing grapes. That’s why grapes have been cultivated in the Temecula Valley since the 1700s. Today, 35,000 acres of rolling hills are dedicated to viniculture and the production of award-winning wines.

Boutique wine is big business, pouring $625 million into the local economy and fueling nearly 7,000 travel-spending supported jobs. Every year, more than 30 wineries slake the thirsts of two million visitors. The sound you hear is the popping of cork after cork after cork.

Temecula businesses provide a wide range of options for exulting nature’s bounty. Whether you prefer spending time in a luxurious chateau or a rustic farm house, riding in a limousine or on the back of a horse, taking in the view from a helicopter or a hot air balloon – a weekend or an afternoon, there is something certain to satisfy everyone.

Miramonte Winery | Photo: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

Lestat, a recent San Diegan, had never savored the abundance of wines available up the way. He was unfamiliar with the lay of the land and I wanted him to have a memorable wine-tasting experience – a guy never forgets his first time. He beamed as we pulled into Miramonte Winery and paid $17 for six tastes. Most wineries offer tours of the facilities and grounds, too, but we were there to exercise our palates.

The casual winery set atop a hill provides a sweeping 360-degree view. We stepped through the wide doors of the large high-ceilinged tasting room, glasses in hand, and found seats on one of many spacious sunny patios. Known for their Rhone varietal wines and blends, between the two of us we sipped our way through: Grenache Blanc resplendent with green apple, a fruity Rosé, a complex dry Riesling, a Pinot Noir filled with dark fruits, a full-bodied Pinot Gris, a robust Estate Syrah, a sweet peachy White Sangria and a spicy Moscatel. I “bagged” a bottle of Riesling and Lestat nabbed the Moscatel.

We also shared a delicious flatbread served steamy hot from the on-site Flowerhill Bistro. Tender bites of roasted chicken with caramelized onions and a drizzle of tangy chimichurri sauce, are topped by coarse-chopped fresh cilantro. The crust of whole wheat flour dusted with blue corn meal is light and crunchy. Yummy!

Our next stop was just down the road at the award-winning Callaway Winery, a comparatively huge place with a distinctly high-tech industrial vibe. By huge I mean they ship 15,000 cases a year. By high-tech industrial I mean the tasting room has expanses of

Callaway Vineyard and Winery | Photo: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

glass and steel with a wall of enomatic dispensers – a system which delivers wine directly from bottles utilizing inert gases. We bypassed the dispensers, sidled to the poured concrete counter and paid $15 for six tastes.

Lestat and I sampled: a woodsy Sauvignon Blanc, a zesty Reserve Chardonnay aged in French Oak, a Special Select Zinfandel with notes of black cherry, a delightful light-bodied Reserve Roussanne (90 point rating = a classic wine), a caramel kissed Reserve Syrah, a seductive Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (87 point rating = very good) and a playful Reserve Profondo. I added a bottle of Syrah to our collection.

Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Winery | Photo: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

We decided to visit the adjacent full-service restaurant, Meritage, for another quick bite. After being seated, we admired the austerely beautiful landscape – long rows of leafless gnarled vines, dormant, awaiting rebirth, rolling down a ridge. Lestat chose the Kobe Eye of Round Carpaccio, and I the Foie Gras. The carpaccio, served with crostini, features thin slices of exquisite raw beef nested atop Romaine lettuce tossed with capers, shaved parmesan cheese, portobello mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. The buttery pan-seared melt-in-your-mouth goose liver is served with earthy baby Spinach greens and a blackberry gastrique, garnished with fresh berries and toasted hazel nuts. Delectable!

We bid farewell to the ochre-hued hills, driving home as the sun slipped away and a deep purple fell. Distant city lights sparkled. On the radio, Sade crooned about a “Smooth Operator”. We were sated, content. Thankful we had visited wine country during the “off-season” when the narrow country roads aren’t clogged with traffic, and the parking lots aren’t jammed with large tour and boisterous party buses.

Temecula Valley is an ideal setting for a romantic getaway, weddings or other special occasions, like Valentine’s Day. Lestat thought so as well, and gave me a lingering kiss after we pulled up and parked at the curb. “Thank you,” he said, walking up the driveway cradling his souvenir bottle. “That was the best kidnapping ever.”

More information:

Miramonte Winery

33410 Rancho California Rd.

Temecula, CA 92591


Callaway Vineyard & Winery

32720 Rancho California Rd.

Temecula, CA 92591


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Meet Jackson Evans: Host of The Realish Housewives of San Diego Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:46:28 +0000

Jackson Evans

The Realish Housewives of San Diego is a parody of the many versions of The Real Housewives that has inundated Bravo TV since 2005. The show is the brainchild of two Chicago Second City alums Kate James and Tim Sniffen.

The San Diego version of the show is at the Balboa Theatre this week for eight shows from Feb. 2-7 and promises to treat audiences to a wild, crazy evening of ‘booze, brawls and botox’. For each city the show rolls into, the script is rewritten highlighting as much about the host city as possible.

The cast stays the same, but names, places and situations get an overhaul to bring hilarity and mayhem to the city visited.

Jackson Evans, originally from Cedar Rapids, Ind., plays the role of Randy, a character based on Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen. Evans, now a resident of the Windy City, got his start in theater performing in, yes, pageants.

“I’ve been calling the Windy City home for over a decade now,” Evans said. “Theater has been a giant part of my life for as long as I can remember; from Christmas pageants in church to theater summer camps to any school play I could weasel my way into. But I didn’t start doing it professionally until after I graduated from Northwestern University up in Evanston just north of Chicago. Since then I’ve been working in the Chicago land area as well as having work in Milwaukee and Los Angeles.”

Evans came into the world of Housewives not knowing anyone involved. In fact auditioning for James and Sniffen wasn’t easy. His audition for the show started out like most auditions, but it was his callback that stepped outside of the norm.

I didn’t know them [James and Sniffen] before the show,” Evans confided. “I was pretty intimidated to audition for them, for anyone at Second City for that matter. It’s such an incredible institution. My audition was not like any I’d ever done before and was a total blast! My initial audition was just doing the opening monologue I do in the play and then doing a short scene with a reader. But the call back was really fun because they called in five women, one for each part, and we got to read a few of the scenes with each other. And then they had each of us come up with our own tag line for our characters just like they have in the opening credits of the TV show and they asked us questions we improvised answers to in character. At one point I laughed so hard at one of the ladies’ answers I hit my head on the wall behind me. It was then that I realized that this would be such a fun project to get to work on.”

This will be Evans’ first tour. Months on the road can be a bit of a culture shock for most actors but he’s done his research and feels he’s pretty well prepared for the next five months.

“Right now we’re booked through the end of May,” Evans said. “Luckily though we’ve got a few breaks here and there so that we can head home to Chicago and check in on our home lives. But I’m so pumped for the cities we’re visiting. So many I’ve never been to before. This is my very first tour. But I’ve read Bossypants by Tina Fey where she discusses going on the road, so I feel very prepared. Although, I now assume that by the end of the tour I will be the newest anchor on Weekend Update.”

The Realish Housewives tour company

While there is some improvisation in the show, Evans and the rest of the cast were not part of the creation or writing of the script, but their input is always welcomed.

“The show is entirely written by Kate and Tim,” Evans said. “But they have been incredibly open to our input. It’s such a clever and smart parody that all we really have to do is just say the jokes they’ve written and most of the work is done for us. There have been a few instances when we’ve said that a certain kind of joke might work great in a particular spot and then they immediately write us back with the perfect zinger. Luckily Randy can openly laugh at some of the things the women say because most of the time it’s just me laughing at a well-written joke. And these actresses are just hilarious.”

Evans did his homework researching and boning up on all things Bravo and Cohen, but it’s not an impersonation of the TV host.

“At this point I think we should be best friends even though he’s never met me!” Evans joked. “For research, all I’ve done is up my viewing of all things Bravo. So much so that I’ve basically turned myself into the Dramaturg of the cast or in other words the guy who’s always saying, ‘That’s just like when Bethenny got into that argument with bonkers Kelly Bensimon.’ My character is based off of Andy but I’m not doing an outright impersonation so I’ve had so much fun upping the things I find wonderful about him. I’ve also read his latest book The Andy Cohen Diaries in which he details a year in his life.”

Evans is also excited about how the show works to highlight each city they are in. The process keeps things fresh and interesting, though occasionally the changes prove to be a challenge and can create some fun for them.

“We do get to make every show so specific to where we’re performing, which is such a treat,” Evans said. “It also keeps us on our toes. And why shouldn’t these fabulous cities have their own season of the Realish Housewives? The show is full of local references and site-specific locations. As of right now the only thing any of us has forgotten is each other’s names. But when I call an actress by the wrong character name, that can be a delicious bit in and of itself! Most of the show is scripted but we do have improvised sections which to be honest are my favorite parts of the show. Not only do we do a different show in every city, but every night is a different show due to the improv. And I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that the improvisation does have a little audience participation.”

This isn’t Evans first time in the San Diego area, but he does have plans to revisit a few favorite places and explore some new ones.

“I did one spring break in Coronado,” Evans said. “I am so excited to come back! I’m very lucky to have a cast full of explorers so I think we’ll be checking out a lot of things. We’ve talked about heading back to Coronado. I’m hoping to do some roller coasters in Belmont Park. Gaslamp Quarter. Maybe even some whale watching. But I have to say the thing I’m most looking forward to is no snow and the San Diego Zoo! That’s what I want to do most of all! I plan on being outside a lot.”

For tickets to the show visit Broadway San Diego’s Web site at or call 619-570-1100. The Balboa Theatre is located at 868 Fourth Ave at E Street in downtown San Diego.

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A cozy neighborhood bistro Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:43:18 +0000

Café Bleu

“Casual contemporary,” he said.

I had asked “Pierce” to describe the ambience of Café Bleu; the red walls, white stamped tin ceiling, blue-lit bar, the mix of dark wood tables and overstuffed sofas. A cozy neighborhood bistro in the heart of Mission Hills perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

“A little bohemian?” I suggested.

“Bohemian-esque,” he agreed.

Grady seated us promptly and introduced the menu. We decided on the three course Prix Fixe – a great deal at $24.95 per person. Pierce ordered a Manzanita India Pale Ale ($8) and I went with the evening’s wine pairings for $15.95. The hoppy glass of beer has a 90 International Bitterness Unit rating and is 8 percent Alcohol By Volume.

The evening began with an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre served gratis. We savored a flaky pastry puff filled with beef tenderloin and a zesty Dijon cream sauce.

Pierce chose the French Onion Soup au Gratin and I selected the Chef’s Canapes for the first course. The soup is a tasty blend of beef broth and caramelized onions topped with croutons and melted gruyere cheese. The cheese however, was overly scorched which introduced an unfortunate char note to the flavor profile. The canapes included a potato croquette made with mashed potatoes and black forest ham, rolled in panko crumbs and deep-fried to a crispy golden brown, served with a red wine reduction; a slice of cucumber topped by a sweet eggplant and sun dried tomato ratatouille with a balsamic reduction; and a crunchy crostini garnished with tender salmon, spinach and housemade tartar sauce. The canapes were paired with a glass of Le Cengle 2014 Rose, Provence. The blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre grapes yields a pale salmon colored wine with crisp citrus flavors balanced by a hint of berries and brioche.

Grady presented our entrées, Steak Frites for Pierce and for me, the Coq au Vin. The succulent slices of grilled hanger steak are served with julienne-cut fries sprinkled with coarse sea salt and minced parsley, roasted green beans drizzled with a rich demi-glace, and a tangy horseradish crème fraîche sauce. The fall-off-the-bone tender Coq au Vin is half a chicken braised in red wine served with roasted pork belly, mushrooms and pearl onions. A steaming hot ramekin of velvety mashed potatoes topped by a crust of sharp pecorino cheese is served on the side. The poultry was paired with a glass of gorgeous ruby red Moillard 2012 Pinot Noir, burgundy. The delightful low tannin pour fills the palate with tart cherry and cranberry then provides a long lovely finish with a pinch of white peppercorn.

For dessert, Pierce swooned over the warm Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake, a dense spongy flourless cake served with fresh berries and a dreamy chocolate sauce. I enjoyed an artisan cheese, the piquant Noord Hollander. The firm aged gouda is accompanied by a medley of dried apricots, cranberries and raisins, fresh grapes, raw honeycomb and a savory sweet reduction of fig, cranberries and onions. The dessert wine was a glass of Daphine Rondillon, Loupiac. The golden wine is imbued with flavors of honey, orange blossoms and lilacs with a sweetness that cloys in the finish.

While Pierce and I had a wonderful dining experience overall, I must mention the service. Our primary waiter, Grady, was extremely professional – friendly, knowledgeable and attentive without hovering. The secondary server however, was overbearing and intrusive to the point where I thought he was going to pull up a chair and join us. Poor form, dude.

Café Bleu

807 West Washington St.

Open 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 11 p.m.


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The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:39:11 +0000

Cuba Gooding Jr. in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

dvr this

FX, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.

Ryan Murphy’s second anthology series, after American Horry Story, is focused on one major crime story a year, and he has started with OJ Simpson being accused and tried for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. Without even watching the non-stop coverage of the events when they actually occurred in the mid-1990s, I ODed on OJ, so I’ve not been excited by Murphy’s take, since Murphy can go over-the-top and high-camp when it’s not always a great idea. But I’ve DVRed the show because the buzz has been deafening and the casting is astonishing — Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark.

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Bridge of Spies Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:35:11 +0000

Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance and Billy Magnussen in Bridge of Spies

dvd of the week

Steven Spielberg’s by-the-numbers spy suspense film stars Tom Hanks as James Donovan, a respected lawyer who is assigned to defend a Soviet spy in the late 1950s. Despite occasionally violent opposition to his treating Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) as deserving of due process and legal assistance, Donovan soldiers forth, the pinnacle of ethical goodness. When he’s asked to negotiate the trade of Abel for the pilot of a downed U-2 spy plane and a grad student arrested in East Berlin, Donovan must cross the Iron Curtain and uses his wits to do the right thing. The film is impeccably made, taut and beautifully filmed with great performances from Hanks and Rylance. It’s fun, but it’s also easy and a bit obvious, and perhaps not quite worth of being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

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Mayor Filner book author has two faces Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:31:33 +0000

It is well known in political circles that I was a longtime supporter and friend of Bob Filner – from School Board, to City Council, to Congress and to the Mayor’s Office. “Team First Lady” was indeed my idea and civic leader Nancy Chase was my co-chair.

In past columns of mine, I have stated that many of us – his friends, supporters, staff and Democratic leaders for decades accepted the fact that Bob could be crude, sexist and yes a complete asshole. But he was “our” Bob. Many looked the other way when it came to Bob because of his long record of fighting for the civil rights and equality of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, gays and working families. I have taken my responsibility in this column for not speaking out more and accepting things as they were. I’ve learned a lot about sexual harassment – more than I ever knew.

But shame on Lee Burdick who was on Bob’s mayoral staff from the first day to the end and now writes a book called Bob Filner’s Monster. Well Ms. Burdick, you, Vince Hall and others then were Frankenstein’s doctors as you also turned the other way and ignored his conduct. You, Ms. Burdick, give attorneys an even worse reputation with your two faces and “I found Jesus” like bull. This author, this empress has no clothes … period. Her book should be used for toilet paper.

Would you have a beer with Lori Saldaña?

Almost all of San Diego’s mayors have been nice individuals who were friendly, outgoing and had great people skills. Jerry Sanders stands out; Murphy was a gentleman; Hedgecock had a good sense of humor; Golding had a great smile and O’Connor opened up City Hall once a month to anyone who wanted to talk to their mayor. San Diegans love to like their mayors and when it comes to Kevin Faulconer you would not just like to have a beer with this guy but a whole damn keg!

Well, sad to say, most Republican and Democratic leaders I’ve talked to have told me that they definitely would not have a beer with mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña.

Mayor Parker to keynote Harvey Milk Breakfast

When Annise Parker was first elected mayor of the fourth largest city in America – Houston, Texas she made world headlines because she was a proud out lesbian. I first met her when she was the city controller of Houston. She is a dynamic civil servant and leader who cares about all people.

I am proud to say she will be the keynote speaker of the annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast Friday, May 20. As always, this event will be a sellout with over 1,000 people. Contact The Center for your table reservations today!

Who is a future Fourth District supervisor?

Ron Roberts will go down in history as one of our county’s most popular county supervisors. Respected and, yes, loved by many community leaders. He was just once again elected chairman of the board and is termed out. So of course there is already talk on who will follow him. Among Democrats being mentioned are Kevin Beiser and Susan Quinn and many party activists are hoping to encourage Nathan Fletcher to run who is busy with his Veterans Foundation and causes. Tony Young, who is now an Independent, is also mentioned. The only Republican who would actually have the best GOP chance is Lorie Zapf who is half Latina and interestingly would be the only person of color in this race.

Keep your eyes on them all. For right now it is early but then the early bird will get the worm.

And San Diego’s new labor boss is …

Lorena Gonzalez was one of the best labor leaders in San Diego history. She took names and kicked ass; a true “Iron Maiden” and a tough lady who ruled in a mostly man’s leadership world. Now some other San Diegan women are looking to follow in her high heels. Among them I hear, Carol Kim, Dale Kelly Bankhead and Laurie Coskey. Now to me the one that comes close to Lorena Gonzalez’ DNA … and that is …?

Police Officer Meyer did San Diego proud

Seems that radical demonstrations did not only shut down an LGBT Jewish reception at the annual Creating Change Conference in Chicago but also a workshop on improving police relations with speakers Latina activist Carolina Ramos and respected openly gay San Diego Police Officer Daniel Meyer. About 80 demonstrators forced Officer Meyer to leave the conference shouting him down and refusing to have dialogue about how to improve police and community relations; the workshop was shut down. Officer Meyer to his credit, in an ugly and threatening situation handled himself outstandingly. He did our city, the police department and his LGBT community proud.

As a past national board member of The LGBTQ Task Force I apologize to Officer Meyer as well as Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman for what he was subjected to which was totally unacceptable. I am glad to report that The LGBTQ Task Force leadership also reached out to this outstanding police officer to convey their regret and offer support of him.

LGBT San Diegans Fernando Lopez, Carolina Ramos, Ricky Cervantes and Connor Maddocks stood with Officer Meyer during this ugly ordeal and we should be proud of all of them, and I thank them for their solidarity.

Needless to say The Task Force is taking a serious look at both incidents and changes will be made so this never happens again.

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Stuff happens. Live with it! Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:27:47 +0000

Looking back there were many times when we came to a fork in the road and, willingly or not, we chose a path which changed our plans, our dreams and for what it’s worth brought us here. Some choices, part of becoming adults, were expected like college, job, where to live, whom to marry, etc. Such decisions were difficult enough, but they paled when the unexpected was thrust upon us such as death, job loss, pregnancy, military service, divorce, etc.

Whose fault may be debatable, but our plans, savings and hopes often came to naught. These bolts from the blue altered our lives sometimes in literally minutes. Shock, fear and panic engulfed us: what to do, whom to call, how to cope. Now in our “golden years,” the new forks we face are approaching far too swiftly: stay, move, my car, assisted living, my furniture, make a will, whom to trust and on and on. These dilemmas were all faced by our parents and friends; now it is our turn. There is no alternative but to accept reality, make a decision and live with it. Be sure you do it. Do not let others decide later what they want for your living arrangements, your furniture, your estate.

Open this new chapter without rancor and denial. Realize life changes are inevitable and are not automatically good or bad, just different. There is never a convenient time to deal with these unwelcome disruptions. Negative feelings are, therefore, natural, but it will be well worth the struggle to keep them at a minimum. The adjectives you, your spouse, partner and friends use can make a difference.

The new path may be a bitch, but it can also be challenging, exciting and interesting.

Nothing can possibly go wrong. Right?

I arrived yesterday in cold Tokyo on my way to the warm beaches and warmer gentlemen’s spas in Thailand. Preparing for the trip, I paid attention to essentials like spare glasses, address book, re-chargers as well as to various exotic oils and an amusing toy or two which I have found useful in massaging away the tensions in my young gurus during our yoga meditation (Well, you’ve heard of it now!). I also checked last year’s shirts and jeans to see if they had shrunk in the San Diego climate. Many seniors can attest to this occurring.

For the first time I made a list of what was to be taken, adding to it daily. It proved invaluable as I packed my suitcase and checked things off. I heartily recommend it. I even included advice like: check stove, lock windows, hold mail and cancel newspaper. I gave myself a pat on the back for making note of the obvious: take money, passport, ticket, wallet and call a taxi. What could possibly go wrong?

I arrived at the airport two hours early and handed over my ticket and passport. To be polite, certainly not to show off, I greeted the staff in Japanese. My good intentions aside, they replied in English.

All seemed normal until a scowl replaced a smile followed by a mumbled conference. A senior staff member approached demanding to know what I was up to. She then held up my passport letting rays of light beam through several holes. Horrified, I realized it was my old passport. My new one was still in my desk.

A sickly laugh and an attempted joke were met with silence. Luckily, a hysterical round-trip taxi dash to my home for fifty bucks (plus tip) allowed me to catch my flight. Such a beginning bodes ill. What’s coming?

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Jury convicts ex-Compton school official of sex crime Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:24:19 +0000

Skyy De’Anthony Fisher

After only about 45 minutes of deliberations, a San Diego jury convicted a former Compton School Board member Jan. 28 of performing oral sex on a sleeping straight man in his hotel room.

Skyy De’Anthony Fisher, 32, had been free on $100,000 bond, but San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino ordered him into jail immediately after the verdict.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said Fisher faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison for the crime of oral copulation of an unconscious person. Sentencing was set for Feb. 29.

Fisher, a Democrat, was the youngest man ever elected at age 28 to the Compton Unified Board of Education in 2011, but was defeated for re-election Nov. 3, 2015 while this trial was pending. He received only 4.4 percent of the vote, and would have lost his job anyway had he been convicted of the felony before the election.

He was a controversial figure in Compton because of some unusual statements and was later arrested for DUI. He planned a trip to San Diego with a 25-year-old man named Steven whom he first met on Facebook. Both men are African American.

In a three-day trial last week, Steven testified they checked into the Keating Hotel at 432 F Street in a room with separate beds April 4, 2014. Steven said he woke up around 7:30 a.m. and discovered Fisher was orally copulating him.

Steven told the six man and six woman jury he was shocked as this was unwelcome. Fisher jumped back into bed and pretended to be asleep, according to Steven, who could not find his underwear. Steven immediately packed all his stuff and left.

His 911 call to police 30 minutes later was played several times to the jury and he appears to be sobbing.

“The person in my room tried to rape me,” he told a dispatcher.

Steven said he submitted to a rape exam with anal and oral swabs being taken. He said “it was the most uncomfortable thing I’d ever had in my life.” A criminalist testified that swabs of Steven’s penis showed DNA from Fisher’s saliva.

Fisher did not testify and his attorney, MaryEtta Marks, told jurors to question Steven’s motivation. She said Steven had been drinking and made threats to Fisher in comments to police and to Fisher himself in a police recorded phone call.

“I want Skyy to lose his job,” Steven said to police, saying he did not want Fisher to be around young males.

Fisher denied repeatedly that he was gay, and told Steven in the recorded phone call he was “high and drunk” at the time. He apologized to Steven and said “Can I make it up to you?” Fisher admitted to hiding Steven’s underwear as “a prank.”

The prosecutor told jurors the defense was raising “red herrings” and added “Steven is not on trial here.” Fox said Steven fell asleep “in a room where he thought he was safe” and Fisher committed a violation of trust.

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Pride’s annual meeting reveals $200K rain cost, 2015 achievements Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:19:07 +0000

Stephen Whitburn addresses attendees of Pride’s annual public board meeting | Photo: Thom Senzee

San Diego LGBT Pride’s rain-soaked 2015 music festival fell short of generating enough revenue to cover expenses, to the approximate tune of $200,000 – that’s why this year’s event will be covered by rain insurance, says the organization’s top administrator.

“We will have rain insurance this year,” said executive director, Stephen Whitburn in response to a question from San Diego LGBT Weekly at Pride’s annual public board meeting.

“You know rain insurance is very expensive,” Whitburn continued, agreeing that because 2016 is predicted to be a particularly strong El Niño year, it will be worth spending about $7,000 of the organization’s $1.7 million budget on coverage to mitigate the risk of losing revenues because of bad weather.

“We make every effort to use the community’s money wisely, but I think it’s an investment we have to make,” he said.

“We’re going to use about $200,000 of our reserves,” Whitburn told LGBT Weekly. “And thank God we had board members who had the foresight years ago, including the current board, to build up our reserves. I mean it’s not a good thing that happened, but the organization is financially sound.”

Whitburn tells LGBT Weekly that Pride still has enough in reserves to cover more than one similar shortfall. But he notes, it won’t be needed because rain insurance is an investment the organization will make regardless of the cost – at least this year.

“If you want an indication of how meaningful San Diego Pride really is to all of us, the fact that 20,000 people turned out in the rain to the festival is an indicator of how much it means to the community,” he continued, adding that Australian entertainer, Ruby Rose and alternative hip-hop star Big Freedia drew large crowds in spite of the storm.

Whitburn’s pride about the number of people who braved the wet weather at Balboa Park last July in order to take in his organization’s music festival is buttressed by the fact that expected headliner, former supermodel, dancer and pop diva, Carmen Electra was a no-show. However, Whitburn did not mention Electra during his remarks at the annual board meeting.

“It was so gratifying to see people in the rain, continuing to have a good time, laughing along the parade route, dancing in the rain and on the stages at the festival,” he said.

Board diversity: A nagging issue

There was universal acknowledgment at Wednesday’s annual public meeting of Pride’s board of directors that the current board more closely resembles the racial, cultural and gender diversity of the community it serves than in years past.

There was, however, vocal criticism from more than one member of the public in attendance, and insistence that the organization could do more to improve diversity among its slate of directors.

“The San Diego Pride board is led by a female co-chair, a male co-chair, a secretary and a treasurer,” Whitburn told LGBT Weekly Monday. “The current female co-chair is bi-racial – African American and Latina. The male co-chair is Asian Pacific-Islander; the secretary is Latino and the treasurer is Caucasian.”

Overall, says Whitburn a majority of Pride’s 11 board members are people of color. Forty-five percent identify as gay, 36 percent as lesbian, nine percent bisexual and nine percent say they’re straight.

“As for age, 45 percent are under 40,” continued Whitburn. “Twenty-seven percent are between 40 and 65, while another 27 percent are over 65.”

Nevertheless, perceived or actual lack of diversity on Pride’s board of directors has long been a source of frustration among some members of the local LGBT and allied communities. Like their predecessors before them experienced in years past, current board members found themselves playing defense at last week’s meeting, which convened in the main hall of the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

Asked by San Diego LGBT Weekly about rumors that the board was considering disbanding its Community Advisory Committee, a group originally formed to ensure better racial and cultural diversity, one member of Pride’s directors confirmed that the board was considering such a move.

“That was just an idea that was being talked about,” he said. “No decision has been made to ‘disband’ the committee, if that’s how you want to put it.”

The reason board members gave for considering disbanding the committee was lack of commitment among its members, as well as alleged lack of follow-through on projects.

Local activist and LGBT Weekly columnist, Nicole Murray Ramirez stood up at the meeting to insist the board reinvigorate the committee. Ramirez reminded the board that the advisory committee’s original purpose was to foster greater board diversity.

“I’m the one who proposed the Community Advisory Board,” said Ramirez. “And this board does not have the right to change the purpose of the advisory board. In 2010 it was a commitment that you represent the diversity of the community.”

Plethora of volunteers

Attracting volunteers, especially at Pride’s signature summertime events, is not a problem for the organization. More than half of the crowd raised hands when asked who among them had volunteered last year.

San Diegan Edward Condreay, 32, is a Pride volunteer and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

“I’m the front gate manager for the festival,” Condreay told LGBT Weekly. “I’ll be ensuring nothing goes into the festival that shouldn’t be going in, so that everyone can have a fun and safe time.”

He says he’ll use skills he learned in the U.S. Marine Corps to be firm and respectful at the festival’s front gate this year. Condreay’s boyfriend, 22-year-old fellow Marine, Chris Frick will also be assigned to the festival’s front gate.

“I always love volunteering,” said Frick, an Eagle Scout as well as an active-duty Marine. “Community relations have not only always been a part of my active-duty career, but even prior to the military; I was always helping out the community, always looking for that volunteer opportunity.”

According to Pride, there is a misconception that its production team is mostly comprised of gay males. In fact, nearly 30 percent of its volunteers in 2015 identified as “straight,” while nearly 60 percent were female.

However, the organization believes the five percent figure its surveys reveal as the number of transgender volunteers it has is likely skewed lower because some trans volunteers simply identify as either male or female.

‘Pride Unites the World’

Building on the popularity of its second annual Pride World Forum, convened in August of last year with 24 LGBT activists from around the globe, this year San Diego LGBT Pride will theme its parade and festival under the banner, “Pride Unites the World.”

According to Whitburn and Pride Director of Operations Fernando Lopez, the local region’s LGBT community has been particularly effective in bringing together gender and sexual minorities from countries around the world, helping them find new power toward achieving greater acceptance and equality.

Beyond the parade

Whitburn took the opportunity presented by Pride’s annual public meeting to note some of the ways the group benefitted the community last year, beyond organizing a summertime LGBT Pride parade and music festival. Not least among those benefits was 400 hours of meeting space Pride provided free of charge to local non-profit organizations and charitable efforts.

“The market value of that was $15,000,” Whitburn said.

San Diego LGBT Pride donated a $1,000 grant to the Balboa Park Conservancy in 2015. According to Lopez, Pride was also instrumental in helping San Diego Unified School District come closer to meeting its state-mandated cultural-competency obligations in 2015 with respect to educating its faculty and student body about LGBT culture and history.

“For the first time, just a couple of weeks ago, San Diego Unified School District hired its very-first LGBT-resource teacher,” said Lopez.

Lopez says the school district is creating a second position focused on promulgating LGBT education in the schools, this one more administrative in nature.

“We asked for one position, we got two,” Lopez said.

This year San Diego LGBT Pride will host a free community-services venue situated in front of the festival entrance. A ticket to the 2016 festival will set goers back a mere $15.

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Off to the races Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:29:48 +0000

We now know the winners of the Iowa caucuses; Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. A self-proclaimed conservative outsider and the ultimate progressive insider. So America has a choice, the LGBT community does not.

While the primaries are just beginning, I believe Iowa has actually chosen one eventual nominee and one that will flame out. Sure there may be a few bumps along the way for Clinton, like New Hampshire, but Cruz is highly unlikely to be the nominee of his party.

His Republican peers hate Ted Cruz. So as we move to the next few primaries, it will become evident that the Republican establishment will cast its lot with Sen. Marco Rubio. So that means as we go forward the Republican choice will be Donald Trump or Rubio. Neither of whom is a great supporter of LGBT rights. Just like what the Republicans have done over the last decade with a woman’s right to choose, Trump, Rubio or Cruz would take the same tack with LGBT rights; chip away on the margins to ultimately weaken our marriage and adoption rights.

The choice on the other side Secretary Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders could not be more contrasting. Both are completely supportive of full civil rights for LGBT people. As I say every time, then why do over 20 percent of LGBT people vote Republican?

Well we are off to the races, the race for the White House coupled with a race for demographic advantage. The Republicans are counting on white conservatives to deliver a Republican to the White House. But the demographics just don’t work.

The Republicans have offended Latinos, African Americans, women and LGBT people with a host of positions and statements taken by the Republican presidential field. Not a great way to build a coalition to take you to the White House.

If the choice is between Rubio and Trump, as I believe it ultimately will be, the Republican establishment will pick Rubio. Why? The Republicans think Rubio can peel off some of the Latino vote. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Cubans are the arrogant cousin in the Latino family. Some believe that Cubans are a “special class” because they were treated differently with respect to immigration. A fact that Rubio’s family took advantage of to immigrate to America which Rubio seeks to deny to many Latinos that have come to America with the same dream as his parents.

So if you are pro-LGBT and pro-immigrant there is only one choice, the Democratic nominee. The odds favor a filly.



San Diego LGBT Weekly

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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:19:33 +0000

Judith Barry: Voice Off

thursday, feb. 4

Judith Barry: Voice Off

An artist and writer who trained in architecture, Judith Barry creates experiential video works in which the viewer plays an integral role. These innovative installations often explore the relationship between physical space and psychological space – and how these spaces shape us as subjects. Voice Off (1998-99) is a two-channel video and sound installation in which videos are projected onto each side of a wall dividing the gallery.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown, 1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd. in San Diego, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., general admission $10, 858-454-3541,

Joe DeRosa

friday, feb. 5

Joe DeRosa

Writer, actor, and standup comedian Joe DeRosa has become a favorite on the comedy circuit. His brand of comedy mixing brutal honesty and frustration at the workings of the world has won over comedy fans, radio listeners, and TV audiences nationwide. DeRosa can currently be seen on History Channel’s I Love the 1880s, and has appeared on HBO’s Bored To Death, FX’s Louie, IFC’s Z-Rock, E’s Chelsea Lately, and DirecTV’s The Artie Lange Show.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., tickets $18, 619-795-3858,

Outside Mullingar

saturday, feb. 6

Outside Mullingar

Anthony and Rosemary are 40-something locals living in a tiny village in rural Ireland. They haven’t got a clue when it comes to love. Painfully shy Anthony has spent his entire life as a recluse on a cattle farm. Rosemary, the fiercely independent free spirit that lives next door, is determined to have him. But Rosemary thinks Anthony needs to make the first move. Suddenly a wild and hysterically funny family vs. family feud erupts over a tiny patch of land. Soon a bonfire of a battle blazes between Rosemary and Anthony and their ma and da. Hope and togetherness are severely challenged.

Lyceum Space Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-544-1000,


sunday, feb. 7


Originally from Peoria, Ill. Stellita now lives in America’s Finest City. Growing up in a musical household, she was exposed to a range of sound; including jazz and blues, Motown, R & B, rock, and country. Influenced by hypnotic voices like Billie Holiday, Diana Ross, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole and later – Sade, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston, Stellita now gives performances that are reminiscent of old times, infused with the soul of today!

Humphreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Dr. in San Diego, 10 a.m., 619-224-3577,

British Invasion: Design, Style, Culture

monday, feb. 8

British Invasion: Design, Style, Culture

A unique exhibit of rare British cars. Cars on show include a 1951 MG TD, a 1932 MG J12 and a 1932 Morgan Super Sport. A true feast for the eyes for all automotive enthusiasts.

San Diego Automotive Museum, 2080 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., adult admission $9, 619-231-2886,

Robert Dubac’s The Book of Moron

tuesday, feb. 9

The Book of Moron

Combining theater with stand-up Robert Dubac buckles us up for a fast-paced joy ride over the pot-holed highways of cultural hypocrisy. Riding shotgun with intelligence and absurdity he crashes head first into the barriers of sex, race, religion, politics and the media. And he’s not alone. With mesmerizing ease, he portrays multiple characters who all take turns beating the hornet’s nest of hype and spin with the big stick of knowledge. It’s comedy on steroids.

North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, 7:30 p.m., tickets $30, 858-481-1055,


wednesday, feb. 10


The Moscow Festival Ballet (founded by legendary Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Sergei Radchenko) brings together the highest classical elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies. The troupe returns to the Jacobs Music Center for the darkly magical fable, Giselle.

Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:22:11 +0000

William Shatner

thursday, jan. 28

Shatner’s World

In Shatner’s World, a one-man force of nature delivers a larger than life performance complete with his laugh-out-loud humor, signature storytelling and select musical selections in his inimitable style. Through anecdotes, songs, jokes and even some poignant moments, you will experience William Shatner‘s phenomenal path from classically trained Shakespearean actor to cultural icon, brilliantly creating the larger-than-life and most important character he has ever played … William Shatner.

Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $46.50 619-570-1100,

Sister Speak

friday, jan. 29

Sister Speak

Led by Canadian singer-songwriter Sherri Anne and backed by various talented musicians, Sister Speak is currently based in San Diego and performs over 150 concerts a year in North America. Through compelling vocals, rootsy yet gritty guitar stylings and thought-provoking lyrics, Sister Speak has connected deeply with a diverse crowd of fans from around the globe.

Humphreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Drive in San Diego, 5 p.m., 619-224-3577,

Greg Proops

saturday, jan. 30

Greg Proops

Greg Proops is a stand-up comic from San Francisco. The Proopdog is best known for his unpredictable appearances on Whose Line is it Anyway? He can be seen on the new season on the CW. Proops has a hit Podcast called The Smartest Man in the World. He has recorded it live in London, Australia, New Zealand, Montreal, Edinburgh, Dublin, San Francisco, Oslo, Amsterdam, Austin, Paris aboard a ship in the Caribbean and somehow, Cleveland.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets $18, 619-795-3858,

Arnaldo Cohen

sunday, jan. 31

Brahms and Beethoven’s Pastorale

Music Director Jahja Ling makes his mark on the “Upright & Grand” festival leading a performance of Johannes Brahms emotionally stormy and sublime Piano Concerto No. 1, with pianist Arnaldo Cohen doing the honors as soloist. The concert opens with another storm, famously musically portrayed in the midst of Ludwig van Beethovens peaceable slice of country life, the Pastorale Symphony No. 6.

Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street in San Diego, 2 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

191_5414_8119.jpgmonday, feb. 1

Presidents Tonight

Union-Tribune history quizmaster and language columnist Richard Lederer will offer a treasury of insights into the feats, fates, families, foibles, and firsts of our American presidents, including the patterns of their elections.

North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, 7:30 p.m., tickets $22, 858-481-1055,

Ernesto Neto: Mother body emotional densities, for alive temple time baby son

tuesday, feb. 2

Ernesto Neto: Mother body emotional densities, for alive temple time baby son

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s monumental installation featuring hanging polyp-shaped sculptures has been re-installed in the Farrell Gallery. Fragrant spices such as ginger, cloves, and turmeric are stuffed into skin-like Lycra fabric, and suspended throughout the gallery, engaging senses of sight and smell.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown, 1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd. in San Diego, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., general admission $10, 858-454-3541,

wednesday, feb. 3

Taste of Opera – Eclipse Chocolate

Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s director of community engagement as he takes you on a guided ‘tasting’ of the three main stage operas Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Great Scott while Will Gustwiller, Eclipse Chocolate owner and chocolatier provides the critical accompaniment of three exotic chocolates, three artisan cheeses and three wines. Fun, informative, decadent and delicious!

Eclipse Chocolate Bar and Bistro, 2145 Fern Street in San Diego, 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., $20 per person, 619-578-2984,

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Live to give Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:02:51 +0000


As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!

Here at The Met, we believe that God has created us to be Fabulous, Unique, Strong, Amazing and Wonderful – and because of that, we have so much to share with others – so much to give to the world.

I’d like to remind you that when we only focus on ego, focus on meeting only our needs and desires, we miss out on a whole new level of God’s joy. As we get our mind off of ourselves, and look up and see the needs around us, we will open ourselves up to the blessings that God wants to pour into your life.

Based on the book, Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen, I share these points. Learn the joy of being a giver and not just a taker. God created us to be givers and we will never be truly fulfilled until we learn the simple secret of how to give our life away.

One of the best things you can do if you’re having a problem is to help solve somebody else’s problem. If you want your dreams to come to pass, help someone else fulfill her dreams.

A great perspective to keep in mind is that no matter how big your problem is today, somebody else has a bigger problem, a tougher road, a more heart-wrenching story than yours. You can help make a positive difference in somebody’s life. You can help ease somebody’s burden. You can cheer somebody up, and give them fresh, new hope.

If you’re lonely, don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Go help someone else who’s lonely. Go visit them, invite them over; meet for coffee. Invite them to take a walk along the beach or the park. Take them shopping; go to a movie.

If you’re down and discouraged, don’t just focus on your own melancholy needs. Get your mind off yourself and go help meet someone else’s need.

Maybe you’re thinking, sounds great Dan, but I don’t have anything to give to others? Sure you do! You can give a smile. You can give a hug. You can give an encouraging word. You can cook a dinner for someone. You can be a volunteer in any number of organizations.

Somebody needs what you have to share. Somebody needs your smile. Somebody needs your love. Somebody needs your friendship. Somebody needs your encouragement. You can make a difference in somebody’s life!

I heard an amazing story about a set of twins who were just a few days old. One of them had been born with a serious heart condition and wasn’t expected to live. A few days went by and one baby’s health continued to deteriorate; she was close to death. A hospital nurse asked if she could go against hospital policy and put the babies in the same incubator, together, rather than in individual incubators. It was a big ordeal, but finally the administration and doctor consented to allow the twins to be placed side by side in the same incubator, just as they had been in their mother’s womb.

Somehow, the healthy baby managed to reach over and put her arm around her little sick sister. Before long, and for no apparent reason, her heart began to stabilize and heal. Her blood pressure came up to normal. Her temperature soon followed suit. Little by little she got better and today they are both perfectly healthy children.

A newspaper heard of the story and photographed the twins while still in the incubator, embraced in a hug. They ran the photo with the caption, “The Rescuing Hug.”

Somebody needs your hug today. Somebody needs your love. Somebody needs to feel your touch. You may not realize it, but there is healing in your hands. There is healing in your voice. There is healing in your words and actions.

You have so much to give, so much to offer. When you center your life only around yourself, not only do you miss out on God’s Best life for you, you rob others of the joy and blessings that God wants to give them through you!

Something supernatural happens when we get our eyes off ourselves and turn them to the needs of those around us. We read in Isaiah 58 that “when you feed the hungry, when you clothe the naked, when you encourage the oppressed, then your life is going to break forth like the dawn. Then your healing is going to quickly come.”

In other words, when you reach out to hurting people, that’s when God is going to make sure your needs are supplied. When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are blessed too.

Let’s get practical. You’ve probably seen some items lying around your house. Clothes you haven’t worn in years, cooking utensils still packed in boxes from your last move, books, dishes, and the list goes on and on. Most clutter experts say, “If you haven’t used an item within the past year, give it away!”

Our world, and our community, is desperate to experience the love and compassion of God. More than any other human attribute, I believe our world is crying out for people with compassion, people who love unconditionally, people who will take some time to help others. Let love lead you through life.

Giving is a spiritual principle. Jesus said, “If you even give as much as a cup of water to somebody in need, I see it and I’m going to reward you.” Amen.

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Come home Thu, 21 Jan 2016 22:11:39 +0000


Rev. Dan Koeshall is away. This week’s column is written by Lyn Malone, minister of congregational connection, Metropolitan Community Church San Diego

Who or what is God? Where shall we look for God’s presence? Our sages and philosophers are by no means unanimous in their response. But they seem to agree on one matter: God truly is ultimately unknowable, the Hidden One, infinite, unfathomable, indescribable. Yet, these same sages also dare to try to capture people’s experiences of God in images we know, and can comprehend.

Biblical commentaries gave us images of God weeping at the sight of Egyptians drowning; bound in chains and forced into exile. Liturgy shows us God as an immovable rock; as a shield; as the commander of a host of angels; as a shepherd. And some faiths focus upon the images of God as father and King.

I believe all of these images are metaphors or allusions … never meant to be taken literally, merely that we may imagine God, even if we cannot see God.

Imagine along with me a different image of God; I want to invite you to imagine God as a woman, a woman who is growing older. She moves more slowly now. She cannot stand erect. Her face is lined. Her voice is scratchy. Sometimes she has to strain to hear. Yet, she remembers everything.

On the anniversary of the day in which God gave us birth, God sits down at her kitchen table, opens the photo album, and begins turning the pages; and God remembers.

“There, there is the world when it was new and my children when they were young.” As she turns each page she smiles, seeing before her, like so many dolls in a department store window, all the beautiful colors of our skin, all the varied shapes and sizes of our bodies. She marvels at our accomplishments: the music we have written, the gardens we have planted, the stories we have told, the ideas we have spun.

Then there are the pages she would rather skip. Things she wishes she could forget. She sees her children spoiling the home she created for us, people putting each other in chains. She remembers seeing us racing down dangerous roads. She remembers the dreams she had for us; dreams we never fulfilled. And she remembers the names of all the children lost through war and famine, earthquake and accident, disease and suicide. And God remembers the many times she sat by a bedside weeping that she could not halt the process she herself set into motion.

God lights candles, one for each of her children, millions of candles lighting up the night making it bright as day.

God is lonely, longing for her children. Her body aches for us. God is home, turning the pages of her book. “Come home,” she wants to say to us, “Come Home.” But she won’t call for she is afraid that we will say, “No”. She can anticipate the conversation: “We are so busy. We’d love to see you but we just can’t come now. There is just too much to do.”

Even if we don’t realize it, God knows that our business is just an excuse. She knows that we avoid returning to her. It’s hard for us to face a God who disappointed our childhood expectations. She did not give us everything we wanted. She did not make us winners in battle, successful in business and invincible to pain. We don’t want her to see the disappointment in our eyes. Yet, God would have us come home anyway.

What if we did? What if we did go home and visit God? What might it be like?

Try this on for an idea. God would usher us into her kitchen, seat us at her table and pour two cups of tea. She’s been alone so long that there is much she wants to say. But we barely allow her to get a word in edgewise, for we are afraid of what she might say and we are afraid of silence. Finally she touches her finger to our lips and says, “Shh. Shh. Be still.”

Then she pushes back her chair and says, “Let me have a good look at you.” And she looks, and in a single glance, God sees us as both newly born and dying.

She sees our middle years, when our energy was unlimited. When we kept so busy, keeping care of the family and the house, cared for children, worked, and volunteered – when everyone needed us and we had no time for sleep.

And God sees us in our later years, when we no longer felt so needed; when chaos disrupts the bodily rhythms we had learned to rely upon. She sees us sleeping alone in a room which once slept two. God sees things about us we have forgotten and things we do not yet know.

When she is finished looking at us, God might say, “So tell me, how are you?” Now we are afraid to open our mouths and tell her everything she already knows: who we love; where we hurt; what we have broken or lost; what we wanted to be when we grew up.

So we change the subject. “Remember the time when …”

“Yes, I remember,” she says. Suddenly we are both talking at the same time; saying all the things that were never said.

“What about your future?” she asks us. We do not want to face our future. God hears our reluctance, and she understands.

After many hours of drinking tea, when at last there are no more words, God begins to hum. And we are transported back to a time when our fever wouldn’t break and we couldn’t sleep, exhausted from crying. She picked us up and held us close, supporting our head in the palm of her hands and walked with us. We could feel her heart beating and hear humming from her throat. Oh, that’s where we learned to wipe away the tears. It was from her we learned how to comfort a crying child, how to hold someone in pain.

Then God reaches out and touches our arm, bringing us back to the present and to the future. “You will always be my child,” she says, “but you are no longer a child. Grow old along with me … the last of life for which the first was made.”

We are growing older as God is growing older. How much like her we have become.

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Showtime! Thu, 21 Jan 2016 22:10:29 +0000

Book of Mormon | Photo: Joan Marcus

LGBT Weekly previews a selection of shows from San Diego’s vibrant new theater season

San Diego can boast about its theater scene like no other city in America.

Sure Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Chicago have vibrant exciting theater offerings, but none of them can compete with how many world, U.S. and West Coast premieres we have and original shows San Diego takes to Broadway.

The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse regularly produce theater that heads out to the East Coast. Ion and Lamb’s Players Theatre have also tossed their hat into that ring producing original pieces bringing recognition to our city.

That being said, this theater season will be no exception to the rule with many world, U.S and West Coast premieres popping up in many of our most notable theaters.

The La Jolla Playhouse responsible for the hit Jersey Boys and Thoroughly Modern Millie will be bringing three world premiere plays: Hollywood by Joe Dipietro (May/June), Junk: The Golden Age Of Debt by Ayad Akhtar (July/August) and The Last Tiger In Haiti by Jeff Augustin (June/July), and a world premiere musical: Miss You Like Hell with book and lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes and music and lyrics by Erin McKeown to the stage this season (October/November).

When the Rain Stops Falling | Photo: Ken Jacques

The Old Globe will also have two world premiere plays: The Metromaniacs (Jan. 30-March 6) by David Ives and The Last Match (Feb. 13-March 13) by Anna Ziegler and the musical Rain (March 24-May 1) with book by Sybille Pearson and music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, based on the short story by W. Somerset Maugham.

The San Diego Rep will finish out its 2015/2016 season starting with Oscar winning writer John Patrick Shanely’s (Moonstruck) romantic comedy Outside Mullingar (Jan. 21-Feb. 14). That will be followed by D.W. Jacobs’ one man show R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (And Mystery) Of The Universe (March 10-April 3) and they will end their season with Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy Rapture, Blister Burn (April 21-May 15).

Lamb’s Players will change things up this season by co-producing a production of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf with Intrepid Theatre (Quality Of Life, End Of The Rainbow). The show will star two of Lamb’s Players artistic directors, Robert and Deborah Smyth, who also happen to be husband and wife and will be presented Feb. 4-March 6, downtown at The Horton Grand Theatre. They have also brought back the tried and true favorite The Nerd (Now extended through Feb. 21) starring David Heath who has done the show each time Lamb’s has produced it. Rounding out the season will be a production of The Miracle Worker (March 4-April 10) and the world premiere of Dinner With Marlene (April 22-May 29) by San Diego playwright Anne-Charlotte Harvey.

The Cygnet Theatre, responsible for out-of-the-box hit’s like Pageant, Cabaret, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play and Company will finish out this season with two plays: When The Rain Stops Falling (Jan. 14-Feb. 14) by Andrew Bovell and Stupid F**cking Bird by Aaron Posner (May 19-June 19) and two musicals: Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (March 10-May 1) with book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien. Artistic Director Sean Murray returns to the role of the sweet transvestite Frank N. Furter, a role he played 25 years ago at The San Diego Rep. And lastly, the Stephen Sondheim/Jules Stein musical Gypsy (July 14-Sept. 4). Linda Libby will revisit the iconic role of Mama Rose. Libby played the role in 2011 at The Ion Theatre winning her a San Diego Critics Award.

North Coast Repertory (NCRT) under the artistic direction of David Ellenstein is never afraid to bring world, U.S. and West Coast premieres to its stage in Solana Beach. Most seasons have at least a few premieres along with some classic standards. This year NCRT will have four premieres in its lineup.

They started off the New Year with the world premiere of Sherlock Holmes And The Adventure Of The Great Nome Gold Rush (Jan. 13-Feb. 14) by Joseph Vass. They will follow that with the following premieres: Now You See It (Feb. 24-March 20) by Georges Feydeau – Translated by Kenneth McLeish (U.S. premiere), Way Downriver (April 13-May 8), an adaptation of William Faulkner’s Old Man by Edward Morgan (West Coast premiere), Hedda Gabler (June 1-26) by Henrik Ibsen – translation by San Diegan Anne-Charlotte Harvey – (world premiere translation).

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush

NCRT round out their season with a roof-raising musical tribute to the black musicians of the ‘20s and ‘30s – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (July 13-Aug. 7) by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz.

Intrepid Theatre originally produced out of Encinitas, but lately has been seen at the Lyceum and will now co produce Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (Feb. 4-March 6) with Coronado’s Lamb’s Players Theatre, downtown at The Horton Grand Theatre. This small, struggling theater may be homeless at the moment but they have produced some of San Diego’s finest theater in the last few years. This past year both Quality Of Life and End of the Rainbow played to sold-out crowds and both received glowing reviews. Their current season will continue with Shakespeare’s Titus And Andronicus which will run in rep with The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy (Feb. 20-March 20) and the musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song (June 30-July 31).

Moxie Theatre, responsible for two premieres last year (Orange Julius, The Curious Case Of The Watson Intelligence) will start this year off with two West Coast premieres: Brownsville Song (B-Side For Tray) (Jan. 31-Feb. 28) by Kimber Lee and Our Lady Of Kibeho (May 1-May 29) by Katori Hall, followed by the campy musical Ruthless! The Musical, (July 10-Aug. 7), with book and lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird. This show will be co-directed by Leigh Scarritt and Delicia Sonnenberg.

Moxie Theatre, in their own words, has dedicated this season to break the mold and explore women in all their rich diversity. Women as playwrights. Women of color. Women of a certain age. Women of God. Queer women. Women who mean business.

Broadway San Diego may not be able to give us premieres but they can give us amazing touring shows direct from Broadway. This past month San Diegans were given the chance to see the Broadway musical If/Then. The show starred Idina Menzel (Wicked/Rent), Anthony Rapp (Rent), James Snyder (Cry Baby) and LaChanze (The Color Purple/Once On This Island) all from the original Broadway cast.

The remaining shows Broadway San Diego will offer are the Broadway smash Book Of Mormon (Feb.23-March 6). This show sold out when it was here last year and is sure to do the same this year. Get your tickets now to the show that has been hailed as the best musical of this century; the new version of The Wizard of Oz (March 15-20) with new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita/Jesus Christ Superstar), Disney’s Newsies (May 31-June 5), and ending with Beautiful-The Carole King Musical (Aug.2-7) that won numerous Tony Awards and took Broadway by storm.

The Metromaniacs | Photo: Scott Suchman

Ion Theatre’s last season offerings were all original world premieres. One of them, Sea Of Souls, made its way Off Broadway this past year. This season Ion will feature The Jacksonian (Feb/March) by Beth Henley, Jesus Hates Me (April/May) by Wayne Lemon, Lydia (June/July) by Octavio Solis, Airline Highway (July/August) by Lisa D’Amour, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (September/October) by Jennifer Haley and closing the season with Larry Kramer’s Tony Award winning play The Normal Heart (November/December).

For their 10th anniversary, San Diego Musical Theatre, will present three epic Tony Award winning Broadway musicals. Staged in the historical Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego will be Ragtime (Feb. 5-21), the sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America; the celebration of Broadway that is 42nd Street (May 27-June 12) and Mel Brooks’ The Producers (Sept. 23-Oct. 9) which sets the standard for modern, outrageous, in-your-face humor.

Highlights at San Diego Theatre’s historic Balboa Theatre include The Realish Housewives of San Diego (Feb. 2-7). This production will be customized for San Diego, bringing hometown reality to the outlandish parody performance. Abba Mania, the world’s most successful touring ABBA show appears March 5 and California Ballet Company presents Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet onstage at the Balboa Theatre March 12-13. An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin (April 16) promises to be an unforgettable night of fun and laughter. And lastly, the Balboa Theatre is also hosting a series of musical performers including RAIN a Tribute to The Beatles (March 29-April 3) and the legendary Elvis Costello (April 7).

There are certainly enough premieres and award winning shows to keep San Diegans, their families and vacationers busy and entertained. So do yourself a favor, see these shows before they head to New York City.

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Every community should have a public accommodations bill Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:53:35 +0000

Jonathan Alexandre, the legal counsel to the Massachusetts Family Institute recently summed up the socially conservative Christian position on equal rights for transgender people in a single phrase. “It’s about bathrooms,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Boston Globe.

Massachusetts is a state that this year is considering a statewide bill that would extend public accommodation protections to transgender people. Equality legislation that affords public accommodations protections is about a person being able to go to a private business that serves the public, or a government-owned or operated facility that serves the public, and not be turned away.

Although this protection does include public bathrooms, the protection also includes being able to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee at a diner and not hear the words “we don’t serve your kind here” as a number of my transgender friends have actually heard.

In his June 3, 1964 speech at Arizona State University, Martin Luther King Jr. identified public accommodation protections as necessary, stating, “Every state and every community should have a public accommodations bill.”

In that same year, former President Franklin D. Roosevelt testified at the Senate Commerce Committee hearings for the federal Public Accommodations Bill, and in a back-and-forth with Sen. Strom Thurmond stated, “I believe that if a man goes into a business which holds itself out as rendering service to the general public, he has an obligation to serve the general public regardless of whether the individual be a Jew, a Catholic, a Puerto Rican, a Negro, a white, Protestant or anything else. I think that as long as he is a citizen and comes under the constitutional rights of our country, then in my opinion – this is obviously a difference between us – I believe property rights are secondary to human rights.”

In Massachusetts, the “bathroom bill” arguments are over a bill affording transgender people public accommodation protections. In seven other states, the “bathroom bill” arguments are for bills denying transgender people access to public bathrooms in publicly and privately owned places in alignment with their gender identities.

The tactic used in these seven states was the one used by the socially conservative Christian community in Houston in 2015 against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). In an ad to defeat the referendum on HERO, a television commercial falsely tied transgender people to bathroom predation by child rapists. The ad didn’t state that transgender women would be the rapists, but instead indicated that granting public accommodation protections to transgender women would legally sanction rapists entering women’s public bathrooms by men claiming to be transgender.

This is a lie. There’s a direct parallel: a similar ad was produced for a similar ordinance and (failed) referendum in Gainesville, Fla. in 2008, and per an email exchange with Media Matters, the Gainesville Police Department spokesman reported that in the seven-plus years since the Gainesville ordinance became law the department could not recall any incidents related to the city’s LGBT protections.

The kind of lying we see and hear is ungodly. A trans person isn’t an object: he, she, or they must be dealt with as a person sacred unto themselves, not as an animated tool to create a false narrative. To do otherwise is to depersonalize the person, and to desecrate who that person is as a fully human being. In a spiritual sense, as long as any transgender person is treated as a means to an end because they are a member of an oppressed group, the image of God within that transgender person is abused, and consequentially their humanity is lost to the sight of those who inflict that abuse.

“It’s about bathrooms” is what the inhumane oppressors of transgender people are saying to obscure transgender people’s humanity. This, at a time when we just know “every community should have a public accommodations bill.”

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Do you need flood insurance? Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:49:50 +0000


Climate change. It’s here and it is changing the way we live and our expectations. Formerly dry places may get wetter, and unexpected water can cause a lot of damage, especially in locations where runoff has no place to go. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a mere two inches of water can cause $8,000 worth of damage to an average home.

So the question is: Do you need flood insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers damage from water falling down. What it doesn’t cover is water entering a house from the ground up, in other words, a flood. A flood is defined as a “condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land or of two or more properties (one being yours) from overflow of inland or tidal waters or runoff of surface waters from any source.”

Now that El Nino is upon us and the rains are coming down, lots of folks are thinking that they may need this extra coverage. If your property is in a flood zone and you have a mortgage, your lender has already required it. If not, it’s up to you to go out and get this extra protection. And you can’t wait until the water starts accumulating. The insurance companies are hip to this, and usually coverage becomes effective up to 30 days after you request it. So you have to think ahead.

You’ll have to read the fine print when you get that policy to understand what is covered and what items are excluded. Anything outside the property, like your cars or lawn furniture, is on you. Money, precious metals and valuable papers, are not recoverable. And you will have a hard time collecting on moisture, mildew or mold that could have been prevented with homeowner care.

Flood Insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program offered by FEMA, which reports that between 2010 and 2014, the average claim for flood damage was about $39,000. Since the average flood insurance program was reported at $700 a year, this seems like a pretty good investment.

Private insurance is also available. You can go online with FEMA, and estimate the cost of flood insurance for your home. The cost is calculated based on the risk factor of your neighborhood and can vary quite a bit.

We all have to adapt to changing conditions, and more water is definitely on the list. The icecaps are melting, the oceans are getting warmer and the water has to go somewhere. To make sure it doesn’t set you back a mint when it finds its way into your house, flood insurance may be your new best friend.

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Did San Diego Democrats just lose the City Council? Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:46:38 +0000
Joe LaCava

Joe LaCava

Earlier this month, Democrat Joe LaCava ended his City Council bid. It’s a bigger deal than you may think.

LaCava was running to replace Democrat Sherri Lightner, who is termed out in District 1. Before Lightner, the District was represented by former Councilmember and now U.S. Representative Scott Peters. If that makes District 1 sound a safely Democratic district, it is; but only in November.

Lightner won in November 2012 with 55 percent (31,585) of the vote to Ray Ellis’ 45 percent (25,881). In the June primary, however, Ellis (14,133, 46 percent) bested Lightner (12,889, 42 percent). Lightner’s November win was only possible because two other candidates, Bryan Pease and Dennis Ridz, split the vote just enough to keep Ellis under 50 percent. Had the 5 percent that voted for Ridz, a Republican, gone to Ellis, he would have won in June, giving Republicans a 5-4 majority on City Council.

With LaCava out, it appears Barbara Bry will face Ellis alone. One could argue that LaCava would only have drawn Democratic votes from Bry, but the math isn’t quite that simple. Only 30,987 people voted in the June 2012 primary, which means additional voters can significantly change the percentages. If Ellis gets 51 percent (15,803) of the same 30,987 voters, he beats Bry in June. If LaCava stays in the race, and is the choice of just 620 additional voters, Ellis drops under 50 percent and has to face Bry in the more Democratic friendly November electorate.

Bry could also win in June, but the fundamentals aren’t in her favor. Republican primary voters are among the most reliable, making it unlikely that Ellis will get fewer votes in 2016, particularly if the presidential primary is still undecided. Lightner was an incumbent in 2012, a powerful advantage in San Diego that Bry won’t have. She can only hope that primary voters are more excited about HIllary’s first term than Obama’s second. Or better yet that a second Republican joins the race.

Anthony Wagner, a Democratic fundraiser, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that “Heaven and Earth will be moved to secure a victory in Council District 1.” While that may be true, Democrats could also decide not to put all their eggs in one basket. They could also keep their majority by taking Council District 7, where incumbent Republican Scott Sherman is running for a second term.

Barring a surprise retirement, Democrats will hold Council Districts 4 and 8 through 2018 (and beyond). In 2016, they are defending fairly safe territory in Districts 3 and 9. LaCava’s exit from the District 1 Council race makes it a tougher hold, but Democrats may have an alternate route to keeping their Council majority through District 7. If either race makes it to November, the odds are in the Democrats’ favor.

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The Revenant’s brutality is only surpassed by its beauty Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:42:32 +0000

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

A great deal has been written, said and tweeted regarding how, for the second year in a row, each one of the 20 actors nominated for an Academy Award this year are white. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Academy is 94 percent white, 2 percent African American and less than 2 percent Latino. The median age is 62, and only 14 percent of the membership is under 50. And 77 percent of members are men.

Even if Hollywood as a whole is supposedly very liberal, old white men are in general not likely to support people of color – in whatever venue, whether film awards or politics.

The Revenant, a ruthless and bombastic tale of revenge in the cold western American frontier, is the kind of movie many men like. The Academy nominated it for 12 Oscars, more than any other this year, and the film is currently holding an 8.3 rating on IMDb, ranking it as the 124th greatest movie of all time. About 80,000 of the IMDb votes came from men, and 13,000 from women. I don’t want to say that men like The Revenant so much because no woman speaks in it, but of the two female characters, neither have audible lines in their few minutes on screen. (One is murdered, the other is raped.) According to the site’s stats, the women who saw the film rated it nearly as high as men, but any film executive will tell you that fewer women are drawn to films so violent, so depleted of female voices or faces, and so focused on themes of classic male heroism.

Much of the film is focused on a man battling nature, with Leo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass trying to survive alone while severely wounded in the cold, snowy mountains; he dreams and hallucinates memories of his dead Pawnee wife and their son. He is trying to find Tom Hardy’s John Fitzgerald, a motor-mouth sociopath who, among other wretched acts, had abandoned Glass to die after the rest of their hunting party had (rather bizarrely) left Fitzgerald to care for him. Meanwhile, a band of Arikara Indians is hunting down the white men who kidnapped their chief’s daughter. With the battles between the various white men and the Arikara, the shockingly long scene where a grizzly bear mauls Glass, and the many ways many of the characters kill each other or are killed by nature, the film’s violence is, if not excessive, totalizing.

If aesthetics can be quantified (which I think is doubtful), The Revenant is every bit as great as Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, or Spotlight, even if they have almost nothing in common with each other aside from being released in the same year and being almost entirely about white people. Iñárritu and his genius cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki also collaborated with last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman, which was as claustrophobic, talky and experimental as The Revenant is epic, taciturn and classic in both its visuals and themes. The film’s brutality is only surpassed by its beauty. Hardy’s performance is deliciously evil, as searing as anything he’s done. DiCaprio will finally win his Oscar for playing Glass, partly for suffering so much for the role, but mostly for embodying a mythical American individuality, determination and masculinity that may be aging but is still beloved by the kind of people who are Academy members.

The Revenant

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Written by Mark L. Smith and Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson

Rated R

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Letters Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:38:47 +0000


Gay, GOP

Dear Editor,

I thought, when I came out in 2002 at 36 years old, I had made it past the judgment. The truth is, unless you follow a certain pattern in the LGBT community, it will be the community that judges you. We say we seek tolerance and acceptance, but the truth is that’s only if you follow those who suggest you must be a liberal Democrat to fit in.

In 2002, not only did I come out, I switched parties to follow what I thought was necessary — a more liberal perspective. I would soon realize that perspective meant I had to abandon much of what I supported politically.

Many people want you to believe that to be gay, you must be a Democrat, and that the Republican Party hates gay people. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though some conservatives are still struggling with LGBT sexual orientation. The good news: Most have realized being gay is not a disease, and that gay people are not monsters or child molesters.

I wrote this letter because after more than 20 years in this community, and having been on both sides of the political spectrum, I’ve learned that it’s OK to be whatever you want to be: independent, Democrat and, yes, Republican. Your party affiliation doesn’t define you.

I just happen to be gay; I happen to be Republican; and that’s OK.


Orlando, Fla.

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Looking for an LGBT roomie? There’s an app for that! Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:34:32 +0000

Wei Fan

Finding a good roommate can be difficult for anyone but finding a roommate who is part of the LGBT community, or is an ally, can be an even bigger hurdle.

Wei Fan, a recent graduate of the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, witnessed this common struggle for LGBT people firsthand when she was assigned a straight roommate for her grad school housing.

“We barely talked,” Fan recalled. “I came out to her because I didn’t want to hide it and I wanted to decorate my living room with the rainbow flag and everything. But everything felt weird. She hung out with her friends and I barely talked to her.”

Fan looked back on her experience, as well as those of her LGBT friends, and became inspired to create TUTUroomii, a social app designed to help LGBT people find roommates.

The app first asks how you identify yourself – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or ally – and then asks which identifications you would like to live with. Then, you can choose a location and view potential roommates and houses within your specifications.

Although the app is available globally, there’s currently only an English version and most of the registered users are in the United States, with the highest concentration in San Diego.

Fan decided to name the app TUTUroomii, which is a combination of “tutu,” the Chinese word for rabbit, and a playful spelling of “roomie.” She explained that rabbits commonly symbolize a relationship between a couple in the LGBT community in China, which is based on the story of Mulan.

“As the famous writing goes at the end of the story, ‘When two rabbits are running side by side, you can’t tell which is male, which is female,’” Fan said. “So the rabbit or bunny somehow stands for unisex or suggests that there’s no difference in sex. That’s probably why in China we have a god who is in charge of the relationship between men that also has the image of a rabbit and we call him the Tu God.”

She chose to spell roomii with two i’s to symbolize two people.

Now that the app is live, Fan is working on promotion and getting more people registered on the app. Since they don’t have a budget for online advertising, she is relying on organic, word-of-mouth marketing throughout the LGBT community.

“We got The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s support and they are willing to help us spread the word and we went to all the schools,” Fan said.

So far, there have been around 1,000 downloads but Fan hopes to see that number expand quickly.

“We have a lot of downloads but not many people are registered and listed,” Fan said. “We’re figuring out how to bring more people in.”

The inspiration behind TUTUroomii

Growing up in China, Fan knew from an early age that she liked girls but found few resources in China to help her better understand herself and the rest of the LGBT world. When she moved to San Diego to pursue a masters in finance at UCSD in September 2014, she found a more welcoming LGBT community. Between the Internet and programs at the university, she was able to learn more about other people like her.

She decided to create a resource for LGBT people in China on WeChat, which is a popular web platform in the country. Beginning in March 2015, she started to share articles about different sexual orientations and real stories of people’s journeys to self-identification. She recruited a friend from her undergraduate university in China to create cartoons based on this information and the online group quickly grew to thousands of followers.

“The self-identification here in the U.S. is deeper, and people do explore their own identification and people are very OK to talk about it, and I can easily find information online or at the LGBT Resource Center,” Fan said. “But in China, we don’t really talk about it, and the information is not convenient for us to get.”

For example, Fan explained that the concept of being transgender isn’t openly discussed in China so she created a cartoon based on the life of someone who is transgender to share with her followers on WeChat. She also mentioned the stereotypes that exist even among the LGBT community in China, such as that lesbian couples should have “one butch and one lipstick.” She created another cartoon to depict the relationship between two butch women as an alternative to the stereotype.

When Fan traveled back to China last year, she met with her friend, the cartoonist, and learned about the difficulty of finding a safe and welcoming place to live for LGBT people in China. Although her friend, who is a lesbian too, was lucky to find an accepting roommate, another lesbian friend in the same building didn’t fare as well. She moved in with a straight couple who didn’t treat her well after she told them that she was a lesbian.

“There are dating apps and social apps for lesbians and I wondered if there was a way to use those channels (to find a roommate) but they’re more for finding friends or friends with benefits,” Fan said. “It’s hard to find (LGBT friendly) roommates and that’s what inspired me.”

Fan returned to the United States and began to consider creating an app specifically for helping LGBTQ people find a fun, safe living environment.

“There is a need because it makes sense that we want to live with someone that we’re not afraid to hide ourselves and we can be good friends because we understand more about each other,” said Fan. “People who you live with will definitely influence your life quality.”

She started to spread the word about the app around the business school at UCSD, which offers resources and encouragement for start-ups. After she joined an entrepreneur challenge at the university, she formed a team to help get the app started. She created a prototype in June and by late July development of the app was underway. Two months later, the app was live.

The future of TUTUroomii

There’s more to the app than just finding a roommate though. A handy chat feature makes it easy to connect with people in your community and possibly find new friends too.

“When people who have initial chemistry start to chat with one another, they could eventually become roommates and if not, hopefully they can also become friends,” said Fan. “We welcome all good outcomes of using our app to connect people in the LGBTQ community.”

TUTUroomii officially launched in the Apple Store in September and although it is currently only available for iPhones, there are plans to create web and Android versions in the near future. They are also currently collecting feedback to help them decide which features are most helpful.

“As our ultimate goal, we aspire to create an app that can make roomie finding in the LGBTQ community as easy and fun as possible,” said Fan. “As our logo goes: ‘Better and colorful life at TUTUroomii.’”

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GALECA’s Dorian Awards for 2015 Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:31:35 +0000

Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in Carol

The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) announced its annual Dorian Awards Monday, Jan. 18. Carol, Todd Hayne’s masterpiece about a lesbian romance in 1950s New York, swept the film awards, winning Film of the Year, LGBT Film of the Year, Director of the Year, Film Actress of the Year (Cate Blanchett) and Screenplay of the Year (Phyllis Nagy); Haynes also won the Wilde Artist of the Year. Tangerine won Unsung Film of the Year, which is given to a movie felt not enough people saw. Television awards were given to Transparent, Fargo, Orange is the New Black and Looking. Jane Fonda won the Timeless Award, which GALECA gives to “an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit.”

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A forgotten kiss Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:23:44 +0000

Duck Confit

“Is that you?”

I was looking at the picture “Pierce” displayed on his phone. “That’s me”, he said. “I told you I was wearing horns”, and that was all he was wearing. The photo was a still from his scene in Labyrinth, a new film from Raging Stallion Studios. He looked like a well-muscled Minotaur showered in lava-orange light. “That’s hot,” I said.

We were seated in a quiet corner at La Bonne Table, an intimate romantic French bistro in the heart of Hillcrest. Ceiling fans spun slowly overhead and mellow jazz flowed softly. Yo, our courteous and friendly host, brought our craft cocktails. I sipped a French 75 ($9), and Pierce nursed The Saint ($10). The French 75 is an effervescent blend of gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and champagne. The Saint is a delicate concoction of gin and St. Germaine, a sweet liqueur made with Elderflower. We toasted continued success in the New Year.

We perused the evening’s menu. Choices for starters ranged from escargot in sizzling garlic butter, to knife-chopped Ahi tuna tartar, to frisée salad with toasted almonds and goat cheese tossed with a mustard vinaigrette. Pierce ordered the Soupe a L’oignon ($9) and I opted for the Mousse de Canard ($9). Pierce raved about the classic French onion soup; a piping hot blend of sweet onions with beef broth and a splash of wine, topped by croutons and melted Gruyere cheese, served in an individual ceramic tureen. The housemade mousse is a light-as-air blend of duck liver and black truffles served with pickled gherkins, balsamic reduction and warm baguette. The opaque glaze of duck fat disappears on your tongue like a forgotten kiss.

Entrée selections include hanger steak with wine merchant sauce, mussels in garlic and white wine broth, or a Provençal seafood stew of prawn, lobster and scallops. Pierce chose the Côte de Porc ($26) and I, staying in a duck theme, went with the Confit de Canard ($25). We agreed to share a side of Potato Gratin ($5). The 16-ounce bone-in Berkshire pork chop, served with Brussel sprouts in a mustard cream sauce, is tender and juicy and swoon worthy. The fall-off-the-bone Muscovy duck thigh has a crispy skin, and is served with lightly dressed frisée lettuce greens, lentils and a fig reduction. Delicious! The gratin is a steamy tasty mélange of thinly sliced potatoes, shallots, heavy cream and a blend of Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Divine!

I paired a glass of Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhone Les Abeilles ($9) and Pierce chose the Valmoissine Pinot Noir ($9). The Côtes du Rhone, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, is a deep red pour greeting the nose with cherry and sloe fruit, caressing the palate with light tannins and earthy dark crushed berries, then ending with a long complex balance of smokey pepper and tobacco notes. The Pinot Noir has a brilliant ruby color with dark fruity whispers, smooth tannins and a quick silky finish.

La Bonne Table is the realization of Chef Renaud Tristan’s lifelong dream, and he brings 14-years of experience to the table. “It’s like having your friends over for dinner every night”, he said. They’re offering a $40 per person three-course prix fixe during San Diego Restaurant Week (Jan. 17 – 24), and are accepting reservations for Valentine’s Day. But hurry – there are only 26 seats available.

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Ave.

Open Monday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.


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The Magicians Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:21:16 +0000

Jason Ralph in The Magicians

Syfy, Monday, Jan. 25, 9 p.m.

Lev Grossman’s series of novels that begins with The Magicians is not terribly original; he clearly combined Harry Potter with The Chronicles of Narnia. At an invisible school in Upstate New York, college students study magic and a few of them discover that the beloved novels about the mythical land of Fillory were actually true stories. SyFy’s adaptation ages the characters, putting them in grad school instead of undergrad, ramps up the danger and drama and inserts a good amount of sex that was non-existent in the books. The casting is quite good, with Jason Ralph as our nerdy, nervous hero Quentin Coldwater, Olivia Taylor Dudley as the uptight and dangerous blonde Alice and Arjun Gupta as the dickish and sexy Penny. The pilot, available online before the official premiere, is exciting, mysterious, sexy and creepy.

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One of the American sailors seized by Iran was gay Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:17:11 +0000

Iran made international headlines when it seized two Navy boats and 10 American sailors after the ships supposedly drifted into Iranian waters. As you know, the ships and their crew were released days later. Well, the sailors were based in San Diego and during the ordeal I was contacted by one of the sailor’s partner and he was, needless to say, very upset and worried. He only calmed down when he saw his partner was alive on Iranian television. The problem was that his gay sailor was in the closet and had not put his partner on his emergency contact list or death notification, so while the sailor’s family was kept informed, the partner was not. Well, he finally got a call from his released partner and he wants this situation taken care of as the Navy boyfriend asked him to marry him!

Boycott the Chargers … Hello Raiders!

Chargers fans, can we talk? Remember that scene with Cher in the movie Moonstruck? Well “snap out of it!” Dean Spanos and the Chargers leadership don’t care about you. It’s all about the money. Forbes estimates the value of the Chargers at $1.5 billion, but if they move to Los Angeles that will likely increase to nearly $3 billion. What is unacceptable is their mind game playing and double talk. I say stop supporting the Chargers and boycott their games. Let’s welcome the Raiders to America’s Finest City. Star War’s Darth Vader has always been one of my personal heroes!

The National LGBTQ Task Force’s very big mistake

task forceAs a former National Board member of the National LGBTQ Task Force (America’s oldest gay civil rights organization), my phone started ringing off the hook when the Task Force announced they were canceling “A Wider Bridge Israel Reception” at the upcoming annual Creating Change Conference in Chicago. This is a respected LGBT organization and I met some of its leaders at the home of City Commissioner Bruce Abrams last year, and the International Court System even presented them with a $1,000 donation.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time making calls to Washington, D.C. and the Task Force leaders. The good news is that many other activists and LGBT leaders also lobbied to undo this unacceptable decision and the Task Force listened and uncancelled the reception Tuesday morning.

Now let us all move on and continue to support the most progressive and diverse LGBT national organization in the U.S.A. And trust me, I am sure the Task Force leadership learned from this big mistake – the worst in its history!

About the Atkins/Block debate

Toni Atkins

Toni Atkins

About 150 people showed up on a freezing rainy night for the first debate between Marty Block and Toni Atkins. Our hosts were the La Mesa Foothill Democratic Club. Block seemed to think that he was definitely going to get their endorsement as he has lived in the neighborhood and has been a member of the club for decades. He even bragged that he knew the names of the founders, but at the end of the debate the club voted and it was a tie vote.

While Toni Atkins talked about her accomplishments as the first San Diegan to be elected as the Speaker of the State Assembly, Block tried to impress the crowd with a story about how Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon asked him to be his desk buddy and sit next to him during the Capitol Senate sessions. No, I’m not making this up; you can ask anyone who was at the debate.

The bottom line is that this race is about proven leadership and a nice guy with an average record who just keeps his senate seat warm. This is why a vast majority of Democratic leaders in San Diego have endorsed Toni Atkins for Senate.

Endorse the San Diego Citizens Police Review Board

I 100 percent support the efforts to empower the Citizens Police Review Board and feel that this is long overdue. While I have confidence in our Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and the department, things are not perfect and it has been proven that there are bad cops everywhere, including racist and homophobic ones. In my experience as the chair of the first Chief of Police’s Advisory Board and dealing with police officials since the 1970s, I firmly believe that the empowerment of a Citizen’s Police Review Board is a good thing for all communities and should include subpoena power.

Mayor Faulconer’s State of the City address

Kevin Faulconer

Kevin Faulconer

The Balboa Theatre was packed for the popular mayor’s annual speech which was well received. He focused on the improvements in our neighborhoods, the homeless and the education of our city’s youth. It was a strong speech which included perfect Spanish.

The mayor seemed relaxed and down to earth and these usually boring presentations included some good humor, thank goodness.

One suggestion I do have for Mayor Faulconer and his recent endorsement of Marco Rubio for president. You could most certainly teach Rubio how to take a drink from a water bottle in public, at a podium during a speech like a man and not like a clumsy kid as Rubio so famously did. Just saying.

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Music and songsters Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:05:29 +0000


Political correctness suddenly raised its head as I began these comments on today’s popular music. I started to refer to a particular “songstress,” but with the banishment of actress, waitress etc. I feared irate comments and letters from those enraged by my use of an “ess” word; a pre-Middle English Latin/French suffix denoting a female (cisgendered, presumably. Dare I even say that?).

I rejected “songster” in favor of the dull, yet functional, “singer.” I confess my failure to appreciate the current hit parade with its often repetitious riffs and lyrics which, to my untrained ear, are garbled to the point of gibberish; enunciation being a lost art. Even when I understand the words, the meaning is obscured by the deluge of unfamiliar slang. True, in our day, words got scrambled, but on purpose for a comedic effect. For example, “maizydotsandozydots…” Ask a senior. They’ll probably reply, “Akiddleetivytoo. Wouldn’t you?” If they don’t, ask someone older.

Back to the songstr…, I mean singer. I am partial to an attractive person, non-tattooed (Not condemning; just saying. Don’t write.) with a beautiful voice expressing understandable sentiments wrapped in a singable refrain. These thoughts arose as I enjoyed the beautiful and lovely Rihanna serenading her fans with a ballad from her popular repertoire. The four-letter words, plus the N word, clearly qualify it as non-PC, yet the language is mild compared to some other million sellers. But a hit is a hit.

Join me as I let my mind wander to a time long ago and envision the charming, tuneful “Bitch, I want my money” being performed, as a friend suggested, by the Lennon Sisters.

Banish the unanswerable

Some of the mysteries which have filled our lives have nagged us for years while others lasted only until further education or street smarts gave us some answers. For example, I recall after receiving human reproductive information from a required boys-only mass lecture, I was confused as to what a minstrel cycle had to do with babies or, from the same source, why gentile warts were thus restricted.

I also wondered, and still do, what happened to Dumbo as he got older and larger or the impenetrable quandary whether or not the refrigerator light stays on when the door is shut. More serious perplexities have continued to keep us awake.

When we came out and people said, “Oh. I know,” how did they know? Which of your trusted girlfriends stole your “Sweet Honey in the Rock” albums? Who told your boyfriend you were making it with his ex? We search for answers to such puzzles to no avail.

This never ending battle for peace of mind and relaxation often occurs at bedtime detouring our trip to slumberland. My solution is to notice and take action at once when the camel’s nose has peeped through the tent as they say. (Oh, I don’t know who. They! Please. I’m trying to help).

When a disruptive idea forms, swiftly force your mind onto a pleasant alternative thus breaking the thought line and allowing Morpheus to descend. Beware; the new topic can be so engrossing as to keep you awake even more. Recently, resisting flashbacks of an ill-advised tryst, I switched to a scene from my trove of art films: a brutal Jeff Stryker was my cell-mate. A long, shameful scenario ensued, but I took things in hand and finally slept.

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Preliminary hearing set for ‘Bridal Bandit’ Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:02:19 +0000

Denise Gunderson aka Denise Burns | PHOTO: LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPT.

A March 7 preliminary hearing is set for the Bridal Bandit, a 50-year-old woman who allegedly stole credit cards from brides during marriage ceremonies.

Denise Louise Gunderson, who is also known under the name of Denise Burns, was extradited from Las Vegas and was arraigned recently in San Diego Superior Court on 25 counts of grand theft, identity theft and burglary.

Gunderson dressed up like a guest at weddings at golf courses in Coronado, Santee and Fallbrook and allegedly slipped inside changing rooms to steal the brides’ credit cards.

She is also accused of stealing credit cards of three wedding attendants at one event and is also charged with stealing a wallet from an employee at a La Mesa bridal shop. Another count involves the theft of a wallet of a wedding coordinator.

The sheriff’s department released her photo from security cameras to identify her. She fled the area to Las Vegas, but was arrested there after stealing a wallet from a church around Dec. 7.

Court records say Gunderson used the credit cards at Target, TJ Maxx, Albertson’s, CVS Pharmacy, Costco and to buy gasoline at service stations.

The losses are still being calculated, but the bride in Fallbrook had $1,044 charged to her credit cards. The loss to an employee of David’s Bridal store was $300, according to the sheriff’s department.

Gunderson has a criminal record of thefts.

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The law of unintended consequences Thu, 21 Jan 2016 20:19:11 +0000

Ted Cruz

I have to laugh as the Republican Party deals with the “birther” issue of Sen. Ted Cruz. There is nothing more amusing than seeing Republicans hoisted by their own petard, or simply put, being hobbled by tactics they developed.

When President Obama was attacked for years about being born in Kenya, not one Republican leader suggested that Obama’s birthplace was irrelevant because his mother was American born. Flash forward eight years and the ultimate hypocrisy of the Republican Party is in full view.

Now that Sen. Ted Cruz is being forced to address issues concerning his birth in Canada and therefore qualification to run for president of the United States, the Republican Party is being forced to actually consider that Cruz’s birthplace needs to be adjudicated.

The concept of a natural born citizen has never truly been defined. Some believe that to be a natural born citizen that a person must be born on United States soil; others believe that the requirement to be an American citizen means one of your parents is an American regardless of where you are born. The latter afforded dual citizenship to Sen. Cruz in Canada and the United States because his mother was an American.

So why all the controversy about President Obama? There was never any question about his mother’s American citizenship. So using the logic currently being espoused by Cruz and his other Republican supporters, there should never have been a “birther” issue with Obama. Even if he was born in Kenya, and he wasn’t Obama was born in Hawaii, according to Cruz it is settled law and Obama’s legitimacy should never have been questioned. At least that is what Cruz is saying now that he is having the same issue.

When the Republicans rushed to vilify Obama’s citizenship they should have anticipated the issue might rear its ugly head in their own party. Sen. Ted Cruz was already becoming a national figure and potential presidential candidate when the Republicans were still harping about Obama’s birthplace.

Now the Republicans are experiencing the law of unintended consequences. Their actions have produced a major issue for one of their leading presidential contenders, all because of their fervor to make Obama an illegitimate president. Now Republicans are facing a dilemma; if they support Cruz’s assessment, the whole Obama “birther” claims become completely ridiculous and a waste of the public’s time. On the other hand, if they don’t support Cruz and say he does not qualify to be president based upon the Constitution, they take out a major leader in their party from presidential contention. We will see whether being born on foreign soil is really important to the Republican Party when it comes to their politicians. I already know the answer, no. Watch as this issue goes away for Sen. Cruz. If I were running as a Democratic presidential contender, I would expose the hypocrisy of the Republican Party by simply asking, “Why does this not matter with Sen. Cruz but it was job one with President Obama?”

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San Diego Imperial Court to celebrate Coronation XLIV Feb. 6 Thu, 21 Jan 2016 18:26:46 +0000
Empress XLIII Toni Saunders and Emperor XLIII Mikie Too

Empress XLIII Toni Saunders and Emperor XLIII Mikie Too

The LGBT community’s oldest organization, The Imperial Court de San Diego, will be celebrating another successful year of “Noble Deeds” Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Marriott Hotel in Mission Valley. This royal event, that has become one of the longest LGBT traditions in San Diego, will elect San Diego’s 44th monarchs and celebrate the reign of Emperor XLIII Mikie Too and Empress XLIII Toni Saunders, which raised over $70,000 for charities, organizations, AIDS and civil rights causes.

The year’s reign has included producing the annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, the Winter Blanket/Clothing Drive, the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner, the Toys for Kids Drive, the Nicky Awards and many other community projects. The San Diego Court also produced the historic, first City Hall Exhibit of a LGBT organization, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the international LGBT organization, with a two-week display at the downtown City Hall.


Empress Nicole the Great, Queen Mother I of the Americas

Feb. 6 will also mark the 10th anniversary of the crowning of San Diego Empress Nicole Murray Ramirez as the heir and successor of founder Empress Jose I. Empress Jose I, a World War II veteran, became the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America. The founding empress crowned Empress Nicole the Great as “Queen Mother I of the Americas” at a royal coronation held in Seattle, Washington.

At this year’s coronation event, the Court will take the opportunity to honor past monarchs. They will honor the popular Empress LaLa Too who was elected monarch 10 years ago. Additionally, a special tribute will be presented for the late Peacock Empress Summer Meadows (Kurt Cunningham).

The Court’s candidate for Emperor XLIV is James Von Rothschild and their candidates for Empress XLIV are Mama Cass and Jaeda Reign.

The Court will also give out their Harvey Milk/Nicole Murray Ramirez student scholarships, which was established in 1979, and is one of the oldest LGBT scholarships in the nation. As stated by the President of the Board of Directors Big Mike Phillips, “The over four decades of charity fundraising could not have been so successful were it not for the strong support of the LGBT community of San Diego.”

The San Diego Coronation weekend will include a two-day meeting of the International Imperial Court Council of U.S.A., Canada and Mexico presided over by Queen Mother I of the Americas, Empress Nicole the Great. The International Imperial Council just announced the $100,000 endowment of the International Jose Julio Sarria Scholarship program founded by the Queen Mother, in memory of the court system’s founder.

“San Diego’s Imperial Court is excited to once again host the Heirs and I.C.C.

members from all over Canada, Mexico and the U.S.A.” stated Nicole, who is also a City Commissioner.

The entire community is invited to this year’s Coronation Ball: “A Military Affair” which includes dinner, outstanding entertainment and remarkable pageantry. Tickets are $80 for general admission and $100 for VIP admission. The weekend will include special shows, brunches and a special Tijuana AIDS Task Force fundraiser. For more information please call (619) 254-6372, or visit

There are over 68 cities with Imperial Court Chapters in North America and Mexico.

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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:00:02 +0000


thursday, jan. 21


Experience Wildside, San Diego’s hottest cover band playing your favorite tunes including such artists as Teena Marie, Cameo, Bruno Mars, Rick James, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake, The Gap Band, Michael Jackson, Too Close, Santana and Prince among many others. No matter how big or small an event may be Wildside will always give you a spectacular show.

Humphreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Drive in San Diego, 7 p.m., $5 cover, 619-224-3577,

Adam Conover

friday, jan. 22

Adam Conover

Adam Conover is a comedian based in Los Angeles. He is the creator and host of the TruTV show Adam Ruins Everything, which he developed as a writer / performer at the popular comedy Web site As a standup comic, he has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, and at colleges across the country.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets $18, 619-795-3858,

Steel Panther

saturday, jan. 23

Steel Panther

Steel Panther is an American glam metal band from Los Angeles mostly known for their profane and humorous lyrics as well as their exaggerated on-stage personae that parody the stereotypical “glam metal” lifestyle of the 1980s.

House of Blues San Diego, 1055 Fifth Ave. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-299-2583,

Cyrano de Bergerac (1923)

sunday, jan. 24

Cyrano de Bergerac (1923)

An early filmed edition of Edmond Rostand’s classic tale of sword-fighting and unexpressed love. This 1923 version of the familiar French story (the nasally over-endowed poet, soldier and duelist Cyrano de Bergerac, his beloved Roxanne, her would-be lover Christian) features frame-by-frame Pathéchrome (Pathé Stencil Color), a true labor-intensive rarity of the Silent Era and a treat for the eye! Russ Peck, organ.

Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street in San Diego, 2 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

Pat Dowling

monday, jan. 25

Pat Dowling

Dowling grew up in Fairfield, Conn. He took piano and drum lessons throughout elementary school and middle school. He started playing the guitar in the sixth grade. His major musical influences are Ben Harper, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer and Jack Johnson.

Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave. in San Diego, 6p.m., 619-233-4355,


tuesday, jan. 26


Those who saw Al McGuire lead the 1977 Marquette basketball team to the national championship knew him to be quite a character. Through McGuire, renowned sportscaster and multiple Emmy Award-winner Dick Enberg shares memories of his long-time colleague and close friend. Enberg’s play depicts why the philosophy of this uncommonly funny and profound man had such an important and lasting impact on so many. Starring Cotter Smith.

North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, 7:30 p.m., tickets $50, 858-481-1055,

When the Rain Stops Falling

wednesday, jan. 27

When the Rain Stops Falling

Alice Springs in the year 2039. A fish falls from the sky and lands at the feet of Gabriel York. And it still smells of the sea. It’s been raining for days, and Gabriel knows something is wrong. Fifty years earlier, his grandfather, Henry Law, predicts that fish will fall from the sky heralding a great flood which will end life on Earth as we know it. In an intricate, multi-layered story that spans four generations and two continents, When the Rain Stops Falling explores patterns of betrayal, abandonment, destruction, forgiveness and love. This powerful drama unfolds with humanity, surprising humor and hope, as the past plays out into the future.

Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets $44, 619-337-1525,

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