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Arts & Entertainment

A personal memoir

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Books, Featured, Profiles | No Comments

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Bestselling author and journalist Steven Gaines is prolific. With 13 published books, nine of them in the realm of biography, Gaines has made an art of getting into other people’s heads — and letting them into his.

He has written or co-written insightful portrayals of such luminaries as The Beatles, Alice Cooper, The Beach Boys, and fashion designers Halston and Calvin Klein. But a year ago, Gaines took a literary leap into a new realm; memoir, and he landed well.

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Run to see ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Jean Lowerison | Theater Review

Owning a flower shop on Skid Row is probably not high on anyone’s list of get-rich-quick schemes, and Mr. Mushnik, after enough years of near-starvation, is announcing the closure of his Skid Row Florists.

But Mushnik’s two employees have another idea. Nerdy clerk Seymour and pretty salesgirl Audrey suggest that putting a new, interesting plant in the front window might bring in potential customers. And it so happens that amateur botanist Seymour picked up a most intriguing variation of a Venus flytrap during a solar eclipse. He’s named it Audrey II.

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The strange case of Glen Meadmore

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Music | No Comments

By Pat Sherman

Guitarist/vocalist Glen Meadmore — a staple of the Los Angeles punk/avant-garde scene of the 1980s and 1990s and an early collaborator of drag megastar RuPaul —will bring his act back to San Diego for a performance at the Tower Bar in City Heights Sept. 22.  

Long before the native San Diegan built his media empire, RuPaul performed backing vocals for Meadmore onstage in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, and on Meadmore’s mid-’80s country-techno LP, “Squaw Bread.”

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‘Notes on a Banana,’ a rich, enlightening memoir

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Books, Featured | No Comments

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Prepare one large stack of index cards, each containing the memory of a significant life event, its date and the author’s age at the time in one corner. Arrange the cards in chronological order. Mix in three themes — food, love and bipolar disorder — and stir gently. Skim off those cards that don’t blend well, and serve with humor, courage and poignant epiphany.

This is the recipe for “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression” (Dey Street Books, 2017), by cookbook author David Leite, creator of the website Leite’s Culinaria, and a three-time James Beard Award winner.

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‘Spider Woman’ risky but ‘spectacular’

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Jean Lowerison | Theater Review

Friendship, love, betrayal and the distressing inhumanity of man all play out in a Latin American prison in the musical version of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” 

Welk Resorts Theatre presents the Kander and Ebb musical (based on the book by Manuel Puig, with play book by Terrence McNally) through Oct. 22 at the Escondido location.

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A Freedom through femininity

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Q Syndicate, Top Story | No Comments

By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate

Tyson Ritter strips down to nothing for the All-American Rejects’ new queer project.

Fuzzy leopard-print top, blonde wig, fake eyelashes, low-cut skirt, stilettos — the frontman de-drags as he transforms from a prostitute, Betsy, to a seemingly married, suited-up man and life of the party, Robert.

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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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An eclectic ‘Hamlet’

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Jean Lowerison | Theater Review

Elsinore — Hamlet’s castle and home — has never looked as barren as it does at The Old Globe this summer, where the Globe’s artistic director Barry Edelstein is directing “Hamlet” through Sept. 10 on the outdoor Davies Festival Stage.

Maybe there’s a certain logic to that, given that the plot is about murder and revenge (for starters). At any rate, something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and maybe it took a normal “Hamlet” set with it. What’s left is a rolling bed that nearly all the major characters end up on at one time or another and three cheesy-looking (but very high) gold-toned stairways on rollers that can be pushed together so as to make a walkway in the heights — or separated for other uses.

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Dishing on the new albums of Kesha and Lana Del Rey

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Q Syndicate, Top Story | No Comments

By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate

Don’t be surprised if Kesha needed “Rainbow,” her first album since 2012’s “Warrior,” as much as the queer kids questioning their place in this mad, queer-resistant world do. Her comeback album’s soaring first single, “Praying,” finds light at the end of the long, turbulent tunnel the resilient pop star occupied for too long before reaching a point — beyond her much-publicized legal battles with producer Dr. Luke, beyond her booze-heavy factory pop — where she could finally say, “The best is yet to come.”

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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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Defining the family business

By Jean Lowerison | Theater Review

Keep it in the family, they say, but when Sheila (Amanda Quaid) complains that “I just don’t know how much … joy I get from this anymore” and threatens to quit her job as a hired assassin, it not only threatens the family business but also kicks off a fascinating, sometimes horrifying, often funny meditation on the possibility and likelihood of human change.

Mat Smart, a 2004 UC San Diego Playwriting MFA, debuts his new play “Kill Local” through Aug. 27 at La Jolla Playhouse’s Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. Jackson Gray directs.

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Sugar, spice and everything nice

By Chris Azzopardi | Q Syndicate Patti LaBelle dishes on ‘still standing’ thanks to the LGBT community, lip-syncing ‘divettes’ and Trump Is there a singer more real than Patti LaBelle? The 73-year-old legend of song (and shade) is a firehose of strong-minded opinions, and in an age that has some tight-lipped “divettes,” as LaBelle calls them, refraining from saying too much, the ever-honest LaBelle is, refreshingly, that rare freewheeler who revels in being blunt AF. […]

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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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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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