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Arts & Entertainment

Carol Curtis: Hillcrest’s ‘piano wench’

By Ben Cartwright

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two part story.

A few decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon to find a gay piano bar, or at least a piano in several gay bars. Only a handful of these types of establishments still exist across the country, where people can come together for drinks in a low-key environment, while listening to live piano music and singing. Los Angeles’ last gay piano bar, The Other Side, closed in 2012, but luckily LGBT San Diegans have at least two left: Martinis Above Fourth in Hillcrest and The Caliph in Bankers Hill.

While Martinis Above Fourth has expanded to include all sorts of live entertainment and ticketed shows some nights of the week, they still have live piano and vocal entertainment by community favorites, such as Don LeMaster, Ria Carey, Janice Edwards, Nathan Fry and Andy Anderson on select nights each week.

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Innermission impresses with ‘Ordinary Days’  

By Jean Lowerison | Theater Review

Everyone in the world is (or has been) lonely. Composer Adam Gwon’s pop opera “Ordinary Days” introduces us to four people in New York who make connections, which may or may not become permanent.

I know, you’ve seen this a million times before, but Gwon’s little chamber opera charms with fine melodies and often clever lyrics.

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Lost in the ’80s

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Music | No Comments

Naked Eyes shows there’s ‘always something to remind you’ of the genre By Alex Owens The 1980s officially ended 27 years ago, but the music lives on whether it be radio, CDs or, for two nights in August, at Humphreys Concerts By the Bay.  On Aug. 17 and 18, the outdoor venue will be hosting Lost ’80s Live, a variety show featuring some of the most iconic acts of the Reagan era, performing some of […]

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How Todrick Hall found his yellow brick road

By Chris Azzopardi

Todrick Hall grew up in Plainview, Texas, with a dream to be “one of these black women who could sing all these crazy notes.” It is, after all, in his blood —his cousin is none other than “Dreamgirls” song slayer Jennifer Holliday.

But first, as a child, the aspiring soul singer found life in “The Little Mermaid,” replicating Ariel’s crimson hair with a red towel on his head and gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. Clasping a fork, he created a makeshift fishtail by binding his feet together with a water hose. Meanwhile, to channel another hero of his, Catwoman, he got his hands on some blue tape, nails and a jump rope, which doubled as his whip and tail.

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Hillcrest CityFest Street & Music Festival returns

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Music, Top Story | 2 Comments

By HBA Staff

With nearly 100 years of history, the Hillcrest Business Association continues to shape the story of our community. And since 1984 — that story along with the story of the Hillcrest sign — is celebrated with CityFest, an annual street fair and music festival that draws over 150,000 people to the heart of the community every August.

It all began in 1886 when the region known as University Heights began to grow northward. Subdivisions soon popped up to border Balboa Park and in 1907, William Wesley Whitson opened the “Hillcrest Company” to sell parcels of land, giving birth to the community of Hillcrest.

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Where the girls run the show

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Music, Top Story | No Comments

By Joyell Nevins

S-A-N Diego, wuh oh! Where the rock meets the roll! S-A-N Diego, wuh oh! Where the girls run the show!

Damn right. As a girl, I might be slightly biased. As an aunt, though, and a member of society, I am justifiably ecstatic by the presence of a “Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls” in San Diego, of which the above is part of their theme song. Melissa Grove and her dedicated team of volunteers — including local musician and proud LGBT activist Laura Payne — have taken a concept started by Girls Rock Camp Alliance and made it thrive in San Diego.

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‘Animal Crackers’ is bonkers!

By Jean Lowerisonn | Theater Review

“The world would not be in such a snarl, had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl.”  —Irving Berlin

Leave your critical and logical faculties at home when you head for Cygnet Theatre’s wild and woolly staging of the classic goofball Marx Brothers musical, “Animal Crackers.” 

Most people know the 1930 film “Animal Crackers,” a truncated version that cut most of the songs. Now, Cygnet Theatre recreates the era and brings back the brothers in Henry Wishcamper’s stage adaptation of the original 1928 Broadway musical.

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Together strong

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Richard “Rikke” Bahena, known to many in the community as the manager of the popular local watering hole #1 Fifth Ave., is also a photographer. While he was never professionally schooled in the art of photography, he has what the business calls “an eye” for the craft. This quality, coupled with Bahena’s passion for how he “sees the beauty in all things” has resulted in a body of work that has adorned the covers and pages of various local magazines, newspapers, books and record albums over the years.

“As an artist there is nothing better than to see your work all over the place making an impact and creating something powerful,” he said. “But what I care the most is the message I have as a human being, where we all matter and deserve respect, equality and to be treated with dignity, justice, and offered the same opportunities.”

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The power of music

By Jess Winans

What was supposed to be another fun Saturday night spinning records at a popular Orlando gay club turned into a nightmare for Ray Rivera. In the early hours of June 12, 2016, Rivera — whose stage name is DJ Infinite — was playing hits and preparing to wind down the large crowd on the dance floor at Pulse Nightclub’s outdoor patio. He loved watching them dance to the beats he created, beaming with pride and knowing that it was there, at that club, they could truly be themselves.

Suddenly, Rivera’s beats were interrupted by gunshots that fateful night, where 49 members of the LGBTQ community and allies were killed during one of the most horrific mass shootings in American history.

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Our ally Sam

English actor talks of intolerance, waiting for the right queer role and gay ‘Hunger Games’ fan fiction By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate After a breakout part in “The Hunger Games” saga as dreamy tribute Finnick Odair and now a starring role opposite Rachel Weisz, the odds certainly have been in Sam Claflin’s favor. Considering his winning streak, we’re holding out hope that a “Fifty Shades of Grey” style rendezvous between him and the Hemsworth […]

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Thronies unite

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Theater | No Comments

Openly gay actor explores Westeros through song By David Dixon George RR Martin fans can’t complain about a lack of fantasy experiences in July. Not only is season seven of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” starting July 16, but a panel on the show will be taking place at Comic-Con International on July 21. As the annual comic festival gets underway in Downtown San Diego, the comedy, “Game of Thrones: The Musical,” will be playing at […]

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The ultimate tease artist

Posted: June 23rd, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Top Story | No Comments

By Margie Palmer

Burlesque icon Dita Von Teese will be kicking off the West Coast leg of her critically acclaimed “The Art of the Teese” tour on July 5 in San Diego. Gay San Diego recently caught up with Von Teese to learn more about her past, her style and what show-goers can expect from her upcoming NSFW performance.

Von Teese never imagined she’d grow up to be the international “Queen of Burlesque.”

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FilmOut announces awards for 2017

Posted: June 23rd, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Top Story | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor

“The Lavender Scare” — a powerful documentary about a largely forgotten chapter of American history when President Eisenhower unleashed a witch-hunt in the 1950s to rid the U.S. government agencies of homosexuals as “security risks” — has been honored with the Freedom Award at FilmOut’s 19th annual San Diego LGBT Film Festival.

The relentless persecution of homosexuals ruined tens of thousands of lives and lasted for many years until astronomer Frank Kameny, one of those fired government employees, fought back. Kameny’s dogged pursuit for justice would go on to inspire the modern-day gay rights movement.

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Gay marriage: Monogamous or open?

By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor

As a psychotherapist focusing on LGBT issues, Michael Kimmel has heard it all. His clients have run the gamut from newly married gay couples to porn stars, go-go boys, male escorts and even a male “madam.”

But since June 26, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Kimmel has been flooded with questions about how gay men should embrace same-sex marriage.

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Face of FilmOut

After battling lymphoma, Program Director Michael McQuiggan looks forward to the upcoming film festival By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor Chances are, if you have attended a movie or a festival presented by FilmOut San Diego, you have been cheerfully greeted by longtime Program Director Michael McQuiggan. Filmmakers from across the globe know McQuiggan, who has built a stellar reputation for helping to produce one of the top LGBT film festivals in the U.S.

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