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Confessions of a ‘plantaholic’

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Features, Profiles, Top Story | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor

Jim Bishop calls himself a “plantaholic.” His friends will toast him — maybe even teasingly roast him — for that.

Over the past six years, Bishop has served as president of the San Diego Horticultural Society. He stepped down from that leadership position last month, following his talk about “My Life with Plants: Confessions of a Plantaholic” at the August meeting of the society.

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When we RISE

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Features, Profiles, Top Story | 1 Comment

By Joyell Nevins

Relationships. Impact. Sustainability. Excellence.

These are core pillars of the RISE San Diego nonprofit, founded three years ago by professionals, politicians and community activists Tony Young and Dwayne Crenshaw.

“We’re an odd couple of sorts,” Crenshaw said, laughing. “He’s an outside table at Starbucks and I’m an inside table.”

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Cooking in transition

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

In an industry dominated by men, Dominick Scott knows what it’s like climbing the culinary ladder as a woman.

Before recently landing the position as head chef at The Glass Door, located on the fourth floor of Little Italy’s Porto Vista Hotel, the 31-year-old Serra Mesa resident identified as female.

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Popping his cherry

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Film, Top Story | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor

Born and raised in the Middle East, Assaad Yacoub didn’t have any exposure to the bedazzled world of drag queens. It wasn’t until he moved to the United States seven years ago that the young filmmaker learned about the courageous men who strap it up, tuck it under, and don glamorous gowns and tall wigs to create the outlandish female characters that entertain us in clubs, on television and at the movies.

It was love at first sight.

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The ‘South Park blueberry girls’

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Features, News, Top Story | 1 Comment

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

On July 3, South Bark Dog Wash, home of the “blueberry facial” and more than 128,000 dog baths, was broken into for the second time in six months after more than 16 years incident-free.

Its owners, Donna Walker and Lisa Vella, who have grown the small business leaps and bounds in its nearly 17 years as a member of the South Park neighborhood, aren’t angry, they’re sad. But they have been buoyed and inspired by the local community that has always had their back.

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Hillcrest’s piano wench

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Features, Music, Top Story | No Comments

In 2001, Curtis began her 15-year stint at Martinis Above Fourth, where she experienced three ownership changes over the years. She recalled that the first Friday night she was asked to perform was Sept. 14, 2001 — just days after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. She wasn’t sure if the bar would even be open and whether there would be a crowd, but she came in to work anyway. Though many businesses had closed that week after the largest attack on U.S. soil, many bars — including Martinis — had remained open, serving as places of refuge, and Curtis fell in love with her new venue right away.

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Community mourns death of Meldon ‘Mel’ Merrill

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Features, News, Top Story | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Contributing Editor

San Diegans are mourning the loss of Meldon “Mel” Merrill, one of the pillars of the local LGBT community, who died Aug. 10. He was 80 years old.

Mr. Merrill is survived by his husband, David Ramos. They were celebrating their one-year anniversary on Aug. 5 when Mr. Merrill fell ill and was hospitalized, Ramos told Gay San Diego.

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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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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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Top-floor boss

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review

Ingrid Funes has figuratively and literally made her way to the top since leaving her native El Salvador at age 15 to pursue a restaurant career in Los Angeles.

Now the executive chef of Cusp Dining & Drinks, where customers are afforded opulent views of La Jolla from an 11th-floor dining room and bar lounge, Lunes proves that you don’t have to be a man or an alumna of some highfalutin culinary school to achieve success.

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Pride moments

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Features, Pride, Top Story | 1 Comment

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

For the first time in many years I watched the Pride Parade from the sidelines rather than partake in it in the contingents. We had just launched our @Gay_SD Instagram account and I was spending the day documenting what I saw, so I could upload to our Instagram account. And what an amazing day it was (until the Verizon cell towers maxed out of capacity and I lost my phone in an Uber for the rest of the weekend).

But despite possible protests, division over longtime community leaders, political battles over new hirings and future departures, and the conflict of our divided nation, this was a Pride celebration for the record books.

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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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