A San Diegan Phoenix Rises: The Obelisk Gay Bookstore Reopens

The Obelisk Shoppe Celebrates August 16th Grand Opening

Hillcrest, San Diego has long loved and supported The Obelisk, San Diego’s only gay-owned and operated bookstore.

And “Oh Hillcrest! How we’ve missed you” are the words emblazoned on The Obelisk Shoppe’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe) today.

As a longtime San Diego landmark in the heart of its gay metro area in Hillcrest, the business suffered a devastating loss just over two years ago, enduring forced closure due to a tragic three-alarm fire.

According to Rex Wockner, on July 6 2011 the Obelisk was instantaneously damaged and “closed when a workman’s torch caused a fire on the roof of an adjacent building, which spread to the Obelisk’s building.  The second and third floors of the structure were gutted, and the fire department has closed the building until it can be repaired.  The bookstore received water and smoke damage.”

Placed smack dab in the middle of the Pride Parade route, the renowned bookstore has always an integral shop-and-rest stop during San Diego Pride, and has hosted such LGBTQ luminaries as RuPaul and many local artists and authors for exclusive book signings, readings, showings and community events.

Nestled in the heart of Hillcrest, the bookseller has long been a location for group meetups, impromptu connections and kikis, and you could always find a mix of the most colorful customers in the store: folks who’d grab a chair and browse through fiction titles, LGBTQ teens checking out freebie magazines and newspapers, canoodling couples deciding on adult video rentals, film lovers perusing their curated collection of queer cinema, tourists eager to peek inside and buy random rainbow stickers and kitschy cards, kink-centric shoppers buying metal jewelry, local respected elders and queer business owners… (and the list goes on).

You’d never hear any stories of people being booted out of the shop if they didn’t buy magazines or books they were reading, or if they took too long to do so.

The feel of the store was homey and lived-in—what with the structure being over 100 years old, the atmosphere lent itself to such familiarity. The store’s proprietors were always on-site or close by, personable and patient.  Though the store ownership has since changed hands, the shop’s new owner aims to carry on the community spirit and launch new revenue models beyond “just books” to keep the store sustainable.

From the pictures on their Facebook page, the redesign is ultra-sleek, modern and inviting, promising to pick up where Obelisk 1.0 left off.

During the Grand Opening, The Obelisk Shoppe will be giving away assorted goodies (including high-priced luxury watches, you lucky San Diegans!) in events surrounding the reopening.

Cheers and congratulations to The Obelisk’s ownership, staff and surrounding community. Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze, and things are finally back on track.

For more information, visit their official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe

San Diego’s known as the ninth gayest city in the United States. What’s the local book nook like in your neck of the woods?

 

Super Hot Superhero Lesbian Action: Batwoman Gay…and Engaged

“Girl, have you read the latest?”

Mm-hm…that’s right: Kate Kane loves women!

DC Comics has completely revamped Batwoman’s character arc—her original purpose was solely to be Batman’s (pre-Catwoman) love interest.  In a queer-centric sea change, Batwoman’s independent crime-fighter status has taken new twists and turns.

In brand new storylines pulled from current and relevant events, Batwoman, a.k.a. Kate Kane, has now been dishonorably discharged from the United States army during “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”  Her stunning, strong, intelligent detective girlfriend Maggie Sawyer didn’t yet know her secret identity in this new, modern narrative.

Surely you’d heard that news by now.

Back in 2009, “Lesbian Batwoman” was revealed as DC Comics’ first LGBT superhero.  Since DC comics poured new life into the graphic novel, gone is the safe, staid 1950s character that the world thought they knew.

While these lesbian-themed elements are old news, (just like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is!), this flame-redheaded lesbian superheroine continues to break new ground.  In a timely romantic gesture, Batwoman’s latest dish is that she’s proposed to her girlfriend, Captain Maggie Sawyer.

These new layers that have been woven into Batwoman’s character arc aren’t only a “win” for lesbian women and LGBT allies, but the new incarnations also bring about strong imagery and encouragement for women in general.  Feminist twists in gaming and comic book storylines are still considered to be edgy, underground, and rare.

Originally created by Sheldon Moldoff, Jack Shiff, Bob Kane and Edmond Hamilton, Batwoman’s more secretive birth narrative had to do with the minds of the writers (Moldoff, Shiff, Kane and Hamilton), who dreamed her up as—essentially—a beard, created to fend off rumors that Batman as depicted in comics was a latent homosexual (mind you, this was in 1956).

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

DC Comics contributing writer Greg Rucka announced to the Comic Book Resources web team, “We have been waiting to unlock her,” he said. “Yes, she’s a lesbian.  She’s also a redhead.  It is an element of her character.  It is not her character.”

With a dreamy desire to rescue you, two (count ‘em, two) power-dyke jobs, humongous guns, and a strong woman who loves her, Batwoman’s a lesbian fan girl fantasy no longer.

This s___ just got real.

C’mon, admit it: powerful women are hot.  You know you love Ms. Lesbian B. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Straight Allies Spotlight: Why We Love Chris Kluwe

“Society’s trending towards more equality, and you see that in the locker room.”

– Chris Kluwe (to Larry King, on “Larry King Now” broadcast)

 

Oh, Chris: how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

First off, few people can bring themselves to hate him.

As the Oakland Raiders’ American NFL football punter, Chris Kluwe comes off as a fresh-faced, cheery, potty-mouthed and an unabashedly proud “gamer geek.” Kluwe’s spoken up—loudly—about everything from NFL labor disputes to honesty in the media. Now, he’s championing gay rights and marriage equality—and it’s not his first time rocking the mic for LGBTQ inclusivity.

The UCLA alum combines dashing good looks and dorky gamer references (he owns a fantasy gaming store for goodness’ sake), and let’s just say his wife Isabel isn’t the only one who finds him easy on the eyes.

Hm…male model? Athletic cover boy? What? Okay, losing track of the numbers here.

Still, there are so many reasons to adore him.

As articulate as he is awkward, Chris recently appeared on “Larry King Now”  to promote his  book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities.”

On the show, he briefly mentioned his personal protest of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment and his ever-expanding record of LGBT advocacy, which started hitting its stride last year.

Sharing a viewpoint with Larry King that’s rarely been shared by celebs publicly, Chris went on to express a bittersweet regret about the Prop 8 decision, saying  we could have pressed even harder to get more mileage from the opportunity to make permanent changes.

“I liked the DOMA decision,” said Kluwe, “Because obviously it extended federal benefits to married couples. Not a big fan of the Prop 8 decision, because while it allowed gays to be married in California as soon as they vacate the stay, the problem is, the Supreme Court had a chance to extend those rights across the entire country…whereas they could’ve made a statement.”

“They have a precedent,” he continued. “They have Loving v. Virginia—that says

marriage is a human right. They could’ve extended that out to say, ‘Same sex marriage, that is a human right, and you can’t discriminate against that.’”

Trying to keep realistic, he tied things up by saying, “So now we’ve just got to go to all the other states that—right now—gay marriage is illegal in, and get that passed.”

Earlier this month, in what could have been a media disaster, Kluwe shared a stinging truth (citing ex-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s murder charges) in the following exchange with Conan O’Brien on the “Conan” show:

“Now what about the NFL? Where’s the NFL in all of this?” Conan O’Brien asked.

“They pretty much just left me alone,” Kluwe answered, “As long as you’re not out shooting people…”

Here’s the deal: straight allies often put their foot in their mouths, no matter how good their intentions may be. Chris Kluwe’s using his “big-mouthed” persona to our advantage. You just can’t hate on somebody for that.

Chris Kluwe loves World of Warcraft, loves the game of football, loves to raise consciousness and awareness, and is all about a message of transparency, fairness and equality.

In his “Larry King Now” appearance and his Out of Bounds blog, Kluwe rants on with this through line: if we are not honest with ourselves and protecting our own, our civilization is doomed. He simply won’t back down from the idea, and his new book likely puts that sentiment on full blast.

Well-played Chris Kluwe—and play on.

What’s your take on Chris’ mouthy antics? Do you think he’s trying to co-opt Gay Rights to get attention? Does that matter, either way? Wait…you’re too busy looking at his “Out” magazine cover spread, aren’t you?

Don’t leave us hanging, y’all—what’s the T? Let us know what’s on your mind, and you can holler at your boy Chris Kluwe @ChrisWarcraft on Twitter.