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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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Gay News Briefs — Aug. 4, 2017

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Gay News Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments

NATIONAL THEATER LIVE PRESENTS ‘ANGELS IN AMERICA’  “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” was a two-part play by LGBT and AIDS activist and playwright Tony Kushner. In the midst of the AIDS crisis in the mid-1980s and a conservative Reagan administration, while New Yorkers grappled with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell. The series was extremely successful and won many awards.

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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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Transforming UC San Diego, inside and out

By Ian Morton | Profiles in Advocacy

The specific issue was whether or not a business should have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. The broader ramifications were whether a privately owned business could deny services based on the patron’s perceived sexuality or gender identity.

As a former pharmacy technician, I remember wondering what would happen if a small town’s local pharmacy or private medical practice were suddenly allowed to deny services or medications based on these factors, and how horrifying that would be for LGBTQ individuals.

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Ponce’s takes top spot as Atkins honors local small businesses

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Featured, News | No Comments

By SDCNN Staff Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant, located in the Kensington neighborhood of Uptown, received a top honor June 6 by Sen. Toni G. Atkins. During the annual California Small Business Day luncheon in Sacramento, Atkins bestowed the 39th Senatorial District’s 2017 “Small Business of the Year” on the local Mexican restaurant, held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

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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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Gay News Briefs — July 21, 2017

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Gay News Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments

CLASSIC CARS COME TO HILLCREST Car lovers will soon be able to enjoy their hobby on a regular basis and right in their own backyard. On Saturday, July 22 from 2–6 p.m., the Pride Plaza — located on Normal Street at the Hillcrest Pride Flag — will host the inaugural Hillcrest Classic Car Show. Nearly 20 classic cars will converge upon the site, available for enthusiasts to see, appreciate and interact with the owners. Sponsored […]

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Backseat dining

By Frank Sabatini Jr.        

It was a reservation for two.

“We have the car for you,” said the hostess to our bewilderment, while leading us toward the rear section of the warehouse-style dining room and past a busy, open kitchen.

Within moments a shiny red Fiat perched a couple feet off the ground came into view. Its front seats were missing and the side doors were ajar. Implanted inside was our table, an attention-getting perch that sent my tall spouse into a moment of panic.

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Analysis: Status of a Pride Parade

Posted: July 12th, 2017 | Featured, News | 6 Comments

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

It has been a year of protests; the Women’s March hours after the presidential inauguration in January; followed by the Science March; then the March for Climate Change; the National Equality March in June; and most recently, the Impeachment March.

While our local community also participated on a smaller scale in the National Equality March, which coincided with Washington, D.C.’s Pride weekend, this Saturday we will embark upon our 42nd annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade.

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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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