Conversations with Nicole
Published Thursday, 29-Jul-2010 in issue 1179
Well, once again, Congress has voted to spend billions more on these losing wars. Did you know for every dollar we spend at home, we spend $14 for the Iraq/Afghanistan wars overseas?! And now 1 out of every 8 Americans are on food stamps! When will Americans finally wake up?!
Ever since he “came out” on the Rachel Maddow T.V. news show on MSNBC, Lt. Dan Choi has become a very visible and major gay rights advocate in a short amount of time. His official discharge this week will free him to become even more of an activist as he has moved from California to New York and now to Washington D.C. And like any national leader, he has become controversial in such GLBT political circles as Lt. Dan Choi continues to challenge the Obama administration and Democratic party leaders. Choi has joined the leadership of Get=Equal, the new political Act-Up of our GLBT movement. I’ve gotten to know Dan Choi the activist and, yes, the man. We were national co-chairs of the 2009 National Equality March on Washington. He is one of the most brilliant and articulate GLBT leaders of our time and yes, he has a healthy “ego” but I have hardly ever met a successful activist of any community without one. It’s good to see a young man of color in this GLBT national role, and while I do not agree with all the stands Dan Choi and Get=Equal have taken, as I’ve always said: civil rights are won both in the streets and in the suites of power and we must be in both.
Yes, our city will host a regional GLBT Black/Brown Summit on the first weekend in October at our GLBT Center. These regional conferences have been held in Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, etc. and have brought together national, state and local GLBT African-American and Latino activists. I’ve had the honor of being a keynote speaker at some of these summits and they are intense and community building conferences that open the eyes of all who attend. For more information on this upcoming Black/Brown Summit contact Carolina Ramos at the Center.
Recently, I attended a meeting with our Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis at her office. At times, I do marvel at how things have changed in San Diego County. In the 1970s, the Sheriff had a well-earned and deserved reputation as a racist, homophobe and sexist pig. With San Diego’s then minority citizens and neighborhoods being harassed and discrimination being very common, you hardly ever saw or knew a woman or a Black/Latino police or sheriff deputy. Our new Sheriff Bill Gore is the right man for these changing times. Yes, a law and order leader but compassionate and understanding when it comes to such issues as undocumented workers and the GLBT community. Gore is a man for these difficult times and I believe he will lead our sheriff’s deptartment to be one of the best in the nation. I have found him to be fair and open minded and to really care about all the citizens of San Diego County. Bill Gore, indeed a Sheriff for the 21st Century. The voters got it right!
The rumors are true, it looks like the old Universal and Dish location at 1202 University Ave should be re-opening around Sept./Oct. It will be gay owned by well-known locals and will have the “Abbey West Hollywood” feel without the attitude or prices! The restaurant will be in the hands of a well-established and successful chef/businessman and yes, it will be remodeled. The floor plan will be much better, as will the “feel” of the entire place. Keep your eyes on 1202 University Ave.
There has definitely been a growing trend in our Pride weekends. People are partying and returning to the bars/nightclubs. There was a time when most of the “circuit” big dance party events outside of our bars were very successful, but not anymore (only Bill Hardt’s events were a top success). Now, because of the recession, Pride weekend has returned to the comfort of the local GLBT hangouts as almost all bar/nightclub owners have reported bigger crowds than ever before with Rich’s leading the way. But even the local neighborhood bars reported solid revenues.
The talk of the town is Lei’s new menu as its over 12 new items are fabulous, including teriyaki salmon, the giant Sicilian style meatball, shrimp scampi and “ceviche of the moment” to name just a few. Add the regular menu hits and you will know why this award winning restaurant/lounge draws those big, hip crowds. Todd Gloria and I were invited to Lei’s recent “VIP Tasting Party” and I had a great time just watching all that fabulous “eye candy” that this place has become famous for. It’s always a party at Lei’s!
Yes, get your Nicky Awards tickets today as these Gay Academy Awards of San Diego always sell out! For ticket and table sales: VIP and general (first come, first serve near the stage), call 619-254-6372 or 619-300-1232.
Now this is a movie that you must pay close attention to from the very beginning. In fact, this movie should come with a warning: one must have at least a high school diploma to watch! Inception is a brilliant movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and take you through a mental maze about your dreams. This is one of the best movies ever made, but you do wonder, what kind of drugs was the writer on to think up this twisted story?
The recent death in Mexico of former San Diegan Rafael Holquin has saddened many of us and yes, brought back memories of this young Latino with that great smile. But Rafael was much more than just a good looking, handsome young man. He cared about people and our community and was a successful charity fundraiser and organizer. As an Emperor of the Imperial Court, he had one of the most productive and successful “reigns”ever, and was proud of his Mexican heritage and just wanted to make a difference in this world. And he did just that. Our condolences to his partner Rick Ford of almost 10 years. Rafael, you will be missed.