Conversations with Nicole
Published Thursday, 05-Aug-2010 in issue 1180
Our community’s fight for equality is indeed the civil rights movement of the 21st Century. Our road to equality has been decades of victories and yes, defeats, but our cause is just and our time has come. We will reach that “mountain top” of equality step by step and now more than ever we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For four days, Stuart Milk, Attorney Patrick Holstine of the Stonewall Democrats and I were the guests of some prominent Mexican businessmen and civic leaders of the beautiful city of Guadalajara, Mexico. A very progressive and cultural city of about 3 million people. With a large GLBT community, Guadalajara’s 14th annual Pride Parade and Festival attracted over 100,000 people and though I was kept very busy with long meetings and thus was too tired to check out the nightlife, my friend Atty. Holstine did. He informed me that the gay nightlife in this Mexican city is very exciting and colorful with countless gay nightclubs. I did manage to view some private art collections and stop by a historic Catholic Church. Trust me, all of us were very much wined and dined at some of the best restaurants featuring outstanding Mexican cuisine of the region. Guadalajara has some of the most breathtaking architecture and arts of any city in Mexico and is one of the safest cities as well. While we were there, the President of Mexico was also in town for the opening of a new 70,000 seat soccer stadium. I would recommend Guadalajara as a vacation spot and, in fact, Atty. Holstine stayed two extra days after our meeting as he found this city so exciting and fabulous. And filled with countless green/blue-eyed men!
Tequila Caballito Cerrero of Mexico will soon be opening up a North American distribution headquarters in San Diego, including an exciting plan to launch a special tequila brand aimed at the GLBT community with part of the proceeds of the sales going back to the GLBT community. Just as Absolut Vodka has in the last decade made a major push and campaign aim at our community, so will this tequila company in a much bigger way. The Jimenez Vizorra family of Mexico have been a well-known and respected tequila dynasty in Mexico for over 300 years! I have had the honor this past year of getting to know and become friends with Miguel Claudio Jimenez Vizcarra, the patriarch of this stellar family. In the 16th century, the tequila plants called “mescal” was discovered in the region of Guadalajara, Mexico by Native Indians. In 1637, the Royal Family of Spain officially recognized “mescal wine,” known today as tequila. In 1873, the Jimenez Vizcarra family established and built their now, well-known and famous “Santa Rita Tequila Factory,” which is about two hours out of Guadalajara deep within some of the most beautiful mountains, forests and natural beauty that I’ve ever seen. I found the Santa Rita Factory to be very well-run and steeped in the tradition of making the best tequila in the world. Did you know it takes 8-10 years for each tequila plant to be ready to harvest? This most beautiful Santa Rita Factory, which I visited, was in 2008 officially recognized as a “World Heritage Site” and in fact, Senór Jimenez Viscarra himself was invited and gave a lecture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. earlier this year. While at the tequila factory, I met some students from the University of Mexico who were studying bats of the region! Senór Jimenez Vizcarra is a well-known patron of the arts and history, and he himself has an extensive, private art collection including paintings, sculptures and rare books that boggles the mind! San Diego is indeed fortunate that Tequila Caballito Cerrero has selected our city to open its North American office and distribution and I look forward to hosting a special reception in welcoming Senór Jimenez Viscarra to “America’s Finest City!”
This city has become the gayest city in America and I’ll be there this weekend for a gala dinner and event at the world famous Riviera Resort for a Harvey Milk Foundation benefit. Among the special guests will be the Mayor of Palm Springs and our next Congressman Steve Pougnet, Geoff Kors of Equality California, Stuart Milk, actress Thea Gill of “Queer as Folk” and “Dante’s Cove” and many others. Palm Springs has become a major destination for GLBT travelers with many including numerous San Diegans buying their second homes/condos in this fabulous desert city!
Recently, I met with the organizers of the upcoming 2nd annual National Conference for “Empowering School Counselors and all Educators to Support our LGBT Youth and Students.” As we know, GLBT youth are coming out more than ever before and at younger ages are subjected to bullying and harassment with our community’s youth having the highest suicide rate. I attended last year’s conference and I believe these conferences are some of the most important and needed for our youth. Let us all get behind this conference with all of our support, including business sponsorships, which you will be hearing more about soon. Thank you.
The legendary GLBT activist, pioneer and yes, the first ever out lesbian comic Robin Tyler will be bringing her New York award-winning play, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom to the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego. The critics have raved about this hilarious and fun, and most interesting play about Robin’s over 40 years of national, state and California activism. Trust me, you’ll laugh your butts off and cry a little. There will be a special opening night reception on Sept. 17th with a sneak peek opening on the 16th.