Conversations with Nicole
Published Thursday, 23-Sep-2010 in issue 1187
None of us should have been surprised at the defeat of our efforts to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”…it’s the usual politics and lack of leadership from the White House and Democratic Party and the new homophobia of two faced Senator John McCain and his fellow Republican Senators…this country needs a new third party!
This past week MSNBC stated that the “Culture War” is back especially with the growing alliance of the Tea Party movement and the radical Christian (?) Right movement….Now we have Tea Party leaders coming out against gay marriage and some even against condoms and sex education. All the “Tea Party” rallies are 95% white and a majority believe that our President is not a true American citizen and is a Muslim. The Tea Party movement is no friend of the GLBT Community…
Over two decades ago in the early 1980’s AIDS walks across the country were just beginning, but no one dared call them “AIDS” walk…San Diego’s first three AIDS walks were called “WALK FOR LIFE” and there were no corporate sponsors and the turn out was almost all from the GLBT community. The founder of our first “AIDS WALK” was a lesbian Republican; a Ms. Gay San Diego, a member of the Imperial Court and one of the first Mayoral appointees from the gay community…the one and only Susan Jester is the founder of San Diego’s AIDS WALK. The next two executive directors after Susan were the late Gary Reese and Albert Bell who both later died of AIDS. Our first AIDS WALKS were held on Pacific Coast Highway and we did get some catcalls…”faggots, queers, hope you die” etc., etc. The Imperial Court was a major funder for our first walks and so were our gay bars and businesses.
This Sunday (Sept. 26) will be our now annual AIDS WALK in Balboa Park and San Diegans from all walks of life, ages and community’s will come together for the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the entire region…Once again the Center and its staff and volunteers have done a great job. And though I can’t walk the whole route I’ll stop by and yes I’ll remember Susan, Albert, Gary and all the walkers of our 1st walk.
It was like a Center GLBT “family reunion” last Thursday as we gathered to honor the past nine Chairs of the Center’s Board of Directors….this wonderful reception and unveiling of a special tile display drew a great crowd of community leaders and activists including Senator Christine Kehoe. I had the honor to be asked to say a few words and these honorees were not only respected leaders of our community but many are respected civic leaders……outstanding San Diegan citizens and the”best and brightest” of our GLBT community: Jennifer LeSar (Past Chair Centre City Development Corp.), Bob Nelson (Chair, San Diego Convention Center), Robert Gleason (Chair, San Diego Airport Regional Commission), Atty. Richard Valdez (Past Chair, City’s Ethnic Commission). Kevin Tilden (Past Chair, Convention Center), Jim Ziegler, Brian Bazinet and the current hard working Center Chair Dr. Shaun Travers as well as Councilman Todd Gloria…..they have all helped build our Center, community and city….we all owe them our deep appreciation and respect. And of course Dr. Delores Jacobs who is greatly responsible along with these San Diegans in making the San Diego GLBT Center one of the best and most respected in North America.
City Commissioner Bruce Abrams and I had the pleasure of hosting a private reception for the State Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky. I remember when I first met then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. I felt he was a man going places…..and I feel the same way about Attorney General Conway who I predict could be a future President/Vice-President….he has that “John, Bobby Kennedy” charm…
Robin Tyler’s one woman play “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom” met with rave reviews during its run at the Diversionary Theatre……it was like a walk through the history of our GLBT movement from the1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and present……just simply brilliant and a must see play which I predict will win every award there is (the San Diego presentation was filmed for an upcoming documentary). District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Councilman Todd Gloria loved the show and Mayor Sanders declared Sept 17 “Robin Tyler Day” in the City of San Diego. Robin and I have been friends since the 1970’s (I call Robin, Troy Perry and myself the “Golden Girls”). Robin and her legal wife Diane had a great dinner at Ortega’s and it was like going through memory lane of our past decades…can’t wait to see this play on film!!
Lei’s Restaurant and Lounge has won almost every award there is to win as one of San Diego’s most popular and beautiful restaurants…..especially their outstanding menu with the best prices in town. It’s Lei’s super Sunday brunch’s that also draws the crowds….I love their “Salmon Bendit” (only $12), their “Breakfast Quesadilla” (only $10). How about their “Stuffed French Toast” and “Filet Mignon and Eggs”…yum…yum!! That’s Lei’s Sunday Brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m….and as for their $4 brunch cocktails all day…fabulous!!