Our annual readers’ choice issue points out the best friendly places for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Utahns to shop and play. This year we had more responses than the last two years put together! Thanks to all who voted on one of the longest ballots you’ll ever encounter.
Most Faabulous Value
The Other Place
This faaabulous Salt Lake City restaurant is a favorite hangout for many gay and transgender residents, who are probably there for the $5.95 Greek Breakfast, $6.35 hamburger or $11.95 chicken kabob — or not, seeing as these are just samples of their huge menu. Hearty for your stomach, easy on your wallet, and they have a wine and beer menu.
2. Off Trax
3. Blue Plate Diner
Most Faaabulous Place for After-Hours Cravings
It’s actually a little further from the TRAX stop then you’d think, but Off Trax is worth the trip on Fridays and Saturdays, when you need some food to counterbalance all the beers you’ve had at sister pub, Club Try-Angles. Also, our dear Ruby Ridge swoons every time we mention the pulled pork sandwich, aptly called the Michael Aaron, so you know it’s Fabby-worthy.
3. The Pie Pizzeria
Most Faaabulous New Americana
Small plate dining is a faaabulous new restaurant trend, and Meditrina’s tapas/appetizer-style plates make sure that you can pick at your friends’ plates without fear of having your hand slapped away. Partner/owners Jen and Amy are faab themselves.
Most Faaabulous Mexican Food
Obviously, Red Iguana has won just about every food award in existence, so why shouldn’t it retain its 2009 Fabby title? Salt Lake residents have been gobbling up the Cardenas family’s “killer Mexican food” for 40 years now. And if the lines that stretch around its two locations are any indication, Red Iguana will be doing booming business for another 40. Their molé is, indeed, holy.
2. Rio Grande Cafe
3. Blue Iguana
Most Faaabulous New Restaurant
The Wild Grape
At just one year old, The Wild Grape has a faaabulous (and faaabulously affordable) bistro menu that older restaurants should envy. Go on in and try its artful smoked portabello sandwich or its hearty mushroom soup. Even more faaabulous? They shop local and seasonal.
Most Faaabulous Cupcakes
Diva’s Cupcakes & Coffee
Thanks to Sex & The City, cupcakes have been enjoying a renaissance among foodies with a sweet tooth, especially here in Utah. A number of worthy destinations on local “cupcake crawls” competed for your affections this year, but in the end Diva’s darling, miniature cupcakes won your hearts — and your stomachs. And what other bakery can boast a faaabulous garden?
3. Normandie Cafe
Most Faaabulous Breakfast
Blue Plate Diner
As if the retro “mom and pop restaurant” décor isn’t faaabulous enough, this award-winning diner boasts an authentic soda fountain and a down home menu that would impress the King of rock ‘n’ roll himself. Also, it’s one of the few restaurants of its kind that is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
2. The Other Place
3. Off Trax
Most Faaabulous Hangover Brunch
You know what tastes great when you have a hangover? Biscuits and gravy, French toast and oatmeal. For 80 years Ruth’s Diner has been serving these and other faaabulous, traditional American breakfasts to diners who partied just a little too hard the night before. Brunch is served until 4 p.m., giving you a little extra time to sleep in before slapping on your sunglasses and making the drive up Emigration Canyon Road.
3. The Dodo
Most Faaabulous Sandwiches
Eat it like you mean it! When it comes to sandwiches, our readers also voted like they meant it for Toasters, which offers dozens of tasty salads and sandwiches seven days a week. A well-known fact? Their turkey and avocado sandwich is not only faaabulous, but good for your heart!
2. Robin’s Nest
Most Faaabulous Pizza
Forget Pizza Hut, Dominos! Stoneground offers a pizza selection that makes these chain restaurants look like grade school cafeterias — like the Moon Dog, Greek God and Chicken Pesto. Cozy and friendly, this restaurant proves that local really is always more faaabulous.
3. Salt Lake Pizza & Pasta
Most Faaabulous Caterer
Three words: jalapeño popper dip. Three more words: towers of fruit. Four words: any event you want. Book them for your next event with these friendly, professional and all-around faaabulous folks, and make sure you get the dip and plenty of desserts. You’re welcome.
2. Cuisine Unlimted
3. Good Day Catering
Most Faaabulous Cheap Drinks
Is Gene cuckoo in the cabesa for having the cheapest drink prices and winning Fabby awards for it? Probably, but recently he did up the prices by 50 cents … money grubber! Now how are we supposed to buy condoms out of the vending machines?
2. Club Edge
3. Club JAM
Most Faaabulous Place to Get Your Groove On
The only place to really shake your groove thang is at Püre, gay Friday nights, at the Rail Event Center. From Nova Starr’s pussy review and Fetish Balls to guest appearances by hot models and actors like Ryan Berry and Eric Turner, Püre is the place to be to sweat in places you never thought possible.
2. Club JAM
2. Club Try-Angles
Most Faaabulous Place to Hook Up
With it’s intimate setting and strong drinks, JAM is simply fabulous to meet your next soul mate … or if nothing else, Michael Aaron lives a half-block away and we all know how easy he is, right? Anyone for nekkid hot tubbing?
2. Club Try-Angles
3. Club Püre
Most Faaabulous Place to Croon
Only as long as Michael Aaron is stuck at the Q Towers putting out the next issue. Seriously, have you ever heard him sing … he’s as painful to listen to as David Caruso is to watch on CSI: Miami.
2. The Tavernacle
3. Paper Moon
Most Faaabulous New Bar/Club
They are actually “the most fabulous new(ish) bar/club” since they had originally opened in 2008, but it was such a fiasco with the polygamists screaming bloody murder about the gays ruining their quiet, dump yard of a neighborhood, where their inbred children play in dumpsters. Oh, and don’t forget about the State of Utah and its ridiculous liqour laws. We love you JAM for getting through it all and still have such pretty hair.
2. Club Püre
3. Club Edge
Most Faaabulous Friday Nights
Friday night is Püre fun. Friday night is Püre evolution … like dry cereals. Friday night has brought sexy back with Pure definition.
2. Club Try-Angles
3. Club JAM
Most Faaabulous Saturday Nights
From their monthly hottie-hot Underwear Party and super sexy Uniform Night to their scrumptous bartenders/barbacks: Jimmy, David, Van, Colt and of course Chihuahua … ruff!, Saturdays at Club Try-Angles is hang-out heaven with a diverse, friendly crowd. Plus you can always find Gene and Ms. Ross stooped at the end of the bar, squawking like cockatoos.
2. Paper Moon
3. Club JAM
Most Faaabulous Afternoon Barflies
At 1:57 p.m. every day Club Try-Angles gets kickin’ with Miss Ross, and how could your day possibly start any better!
2. The Trapp
3. Paper Moon
Most Faaabulous Hetero Hang Out
Located in downtown Salt Lake, The Tavernacle is certainly one of the most welcoming “straight” clubs. Owners Scott Alexander and Mason Simmons provide oodles of fun with the Powerball Karaoke on Sundays and Tuesdays — two of their most gay-populated nights. Part of that reason is probably because of Ben, the beguiling, beauteous bartender.
2. W Lounge
3. Piper Down
Most Faaabulous Place to Find Boys in Make-up
Cyber Slut Bingo
What’s up with drag queens and bingo? In theory that’s about as cohesive as polyurethane and devil’s food. But for some reason when they hear “O-69” they come screaming out of the dressing rooms at JCPenney. Anyhoo, get to know Lucky Charms, Chevy Suburban, Ida Slapter and the rest of the campy gals every month during this most fabulous event.
2. Third Friday Bingo
3. Paper Moon
ARTS & CULTURE
Most Faaabulous Local Theatre Co.
While celebrating everything Matthew Ivan Bennett — from the world premieres of Block 8 and Di Esperienza to returning favorites And The Banned Slammed On and Radio Hour, Plan-B once again wins our coveted Fabby award. How does Jerry Rapier and his small staff (uh, sorry Jerry!) do it? We guess it’s just one of those deep secrets from behind the curtain … or it could be that Matthew Ivan Bennett is prime material for a nude figure drawing class. No wonder Michael Aaron’s recently registered for one.
2. Salt Lake Acting Co.
3. Pioneer Theatre
Most Faaabulous Dance Company
Originally named the Utah Civic Ballet and formed in 1963, Ballet West really is “Utah’s premiere ballet.” Now, it could be based solely on the popularity of the ballet’s annual performances of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake that they’ve garnered a Fabby, but it could also be attributed to Artistic Director Adam Sklute’s introduction of renowned contemporary choreographers such as Ulysses Dove, Jiri Kylianand Stanton Welch while expanding the company’s Balanchine and Smuin repertoire. Or it could simply be the men in tights!
Most Faaabulous New Performance Arts Co.
Dark Horse Company Theatre
Founded in 2009 by four very talented local actors, Dark Horse Company Theatre obviously took the performance arts by storm — with sell-out shows of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and with Reefer Madness, one of the most raucous, energetic and hilarious musicals in recent history. We at Q are biting to the quick to learn what they’re going to do next.
2. The Sugar Space
3. Meat & Potato
Most Faaabulous Play/Musical of 2009
Wicked — Broadway in Utah
Last Spring the yellow brick road found its way to Utah, well sort of. Wicked is the prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, relating the Wicked Witch of the West and The Good Witch of the North. Alongside its Tony awards, the musical now has a prestigious Fabby … it can’t do any better than that.
2. Saturday’s Voyeur — SLAC
3. Di Esperienza — Plan-B
Most Faaabulous Special Engagement Show of 2009
The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon
So what can I say about this show other then it was a sure winner. It received more Fabby votes than I have fingers and toes (so therefore I can’t give you an exact number). Sister Dottie has become a celebrity icon to many in Utah since the premiere of Passion, and the consensus is she will only become more influential as an LDSLGBTQHA Apostle.
2. And the Banned Slammed On — Plan-B
3. Radio Hour: Alice — Plan-B
Most Faaabulous Dance Program of 2009
Thriller — Odyssey Dance Co.
For the last 12 years Odyssey has been shocking, mocking and rocking with its annual “Halloween Spectacular.” Bringing to life classic characters like Jason of Friday the 13th and Frankenstein to more contemporary and original roles like Mr. Roboto and The Lost Boys, the dance troupe always plays it up with artistic triumph.
2. Equilibrium — Ririe-Woodbury
3. Shut Up & Dance — Odyssey
Most Faaabulous Visual Stimulation
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Located on the University of Utah campus, this 74,000 square foot gallery has a collection that now encompasses 5000 years of art. That’s a bounty of sculptures, artifacts, paintings, etc. They also offer lectures, films and guided tours, as well as a beautiful space for same-sex commitment ceremonies. Their progressiveness alone yields them a Fabby!
2. Salt Lake Art Center
3. Phillips Gallery
Most Faaabulous Deals
Whether you’re a voracious reader seeking paperbacks, an interior decorator dying to find the perfect table, or a Matron of Mayhem looking for that perfect 1972 fuchsia sequined evening gown and matching pumps, Our Store Your Thrift Alternative can help you out. And the Most Faaabulous part? All the proceeds go to the People With AIDS Coalition’s programs and services.
2. Pib’s Exchange
3. Uptown Cheapskate
Best High-End Clothing
Hehe. Cock. Sorry, we just can’t get over the name of this faaabulous high-end store that specializes in jeans, swimsuits and sexy underwear for our community’s male-identified members. Also, the models strutting their stuff in said sexy trunks for our annual swimsuit issue look pretty faaabulous, too. Notice how we didn’t make another obvious joke because we’re mature like that.
3. Name Droppers
Most Faaabulous Naughty Store
Cahoots Cards & Gifts
And speaking of dirty jokes, where else can you find cards with any number of off-color jokes than Cahoots Card & Gifts? And if you aren’t looking for a card that would make your grandmother blush, don’t forget to check out the array of naughty items from lingerie to adult toys. No wonder they win a Fabby almost every year!
3. Blue Boutique
Most Faaabulous Elephant Gifts
Cahoots Cards & Gifts
And, of course, Cahoots is also a faaabulous place for those fun gag gift items, whether or not you want to scandalize the recipient.
2. Cabin Fever
Most Faaabulous Furnishings
Retrospect Water & Light
Right about now you’re probably asking yourselves, “Um, do retro lighting and plumbing fixtures actually work?” The answer, as Retrospect’s employees will tell you, is yes — sometimes even better than the cheap, new fangled things that seem to need replacing every few years. If you’re looking to freshen up your historic home, or to add a touch of retro class to a new home, this is the Most Faaabulous place in the state to go.
2. Cabin Fever
Most Faaabulous Blooms
Twigs Flower Co.
Once again, Raymond King of Twigs takes home a Fabby for his sumptuous roses and breathtaking arrangements — which often include gerbera daisies so large and bright they might as well come with a miniature solar system. Remember, there are only nine more shopping days ‘til Mother’s Day!
2. Flower Patch
3. Celestial Floral Salon
Most Faaabulous Books
King’s English Bookshop
With so many faaabulous independent bookstores in the state, it’s always hard for our readers to pick a winner. But somehow you always manage. This year’s Fabby goes to 1500 East’s King’s English, which has championed book clubs, local authors and the art of reading for 33 years.!
2. Sam Weller’s
3. Ken Sanders Rare Books
Most Faaabulous Coifer
Faaabulous Jesse has been a supporter of QSaltLake for years now, so we’re always glad when readers give his stylish haircuts the thumbs — or scissors — up. And readers take note along with making your hair shorter, longer, stronger and sleeker, Jesse also runs a full-service salon.
2. Claudio Bello
3. Ron Zabriskie
Most Faaabulous Spa
A New Day Spa
This inviting, family-run (and Family-friendly) spa on Highland Drive is the best place to go to get waxed, plucked, rubbed, wrapped, cut, scrubbed and painted. And if you’re not too tired after that, be sure to indulge in one of their yoga classes, or get your aura read. If you are too tired, well, they also offer energy and Reiki sessions. The only improvement we can think of would be a champagne fountain in every room — which owner Sherry, who is always adding onto her services, will now probably install by 2011.
2. A Kura Door
3. Men’s Grooming Lounge
Most Faaabulous Rub Down
Sure, the Pride in the name refers to the lion logo, but don’t be fooled. This massage studio is as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-friendly as you can get, and its therapists are as friendly and warm as its inviting studio. Damn it. Now all we can think about is getting our kinky bodies … well, unkinked.
2. Kevin Guzik
3. Massage Bodywork
Most Faaabulous Shutterbug
Nearly all of QSaltLake’s faaabulous photographers made a strong showing in this category. Sadly, in the end only one princess can be crowned. And who better than David Daniels, whose lifestyle photographs capture their subjects’ personalities with such panache. Not to mention such a puckish sense of humor. One of the latest photos on his website is a spoof, featuring a law graduate representing a cannibal with a penchant for wheelchair users. Ugh. What’s next, David? The QSaltLake zombie apocalypse? Don’t answer that.
2. David Newkirk
3. Laurie Kaufman
Most Faaabulous Realtor
This award hasn’t gone to Babs in a long, long time. We have no idea why. Sure, there are a lot of faaabulous gay and lesbian real estate agents out there, but Babs was doing it long before it was cool — and when coming out could seriously hurt your business. Anyway, we’re glad you picked her at last, because seriously, someone who wears faaabulous glasses like that needs some kind of Fabby recognition.
2. Aaron Butler
3. Scott Alexander
Most Faaabulous Place to be Punched and Inked
KOI Piercing Studio
Once again, KOI Piercing Studio dominates this category, thanks to its artists’ attention to detail — which also includes teaching you how to keep that belly ring from becoming a crusty mess requiring hospitalization. Oh, and their goldfish logo? One of the Most Faaabulous
storefront designs we’ve ever seen.
2. Iris Piercing
3. Susie M’s
Most Faaabulous Attorney
As many same-sex couples in Utah know, having the paperwork to protect your assets as a couple is a sad reality of living in most U.S. states today. But happily, there are faaabulous attorneys like Doug Fadel who can help you with all the confusing bits of estate planning, including power of attorney documents and living wills. Helping clients of all sexual orientations find financial security Fadel is pretty damn faaabulous to us.
2. Lauren Barros
3. Tim Houpt
Most Faaabulous Bow Job for Fido
The Dog Show Grooming & Kennels
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people love their pets and love to spoil them. Which is kind of why we have this category — and why readers always have a number of faaabulous recommendations for the honor. This year’s top dog is The Dog Show, whose stylists will trim your best friend’s nails and coif his or her fur, and even furminate your pet … I think that’s a good thing … or maybe it means they’ll make your dog or cat look like Ruby Ridge.
2. Camp Bow Wow
3. Dogs R Us
Most Faaabulous Shrinks
Since Salt Lake City has enough gay and transgender-friendly therapists to warrant an LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapists Guild, you’d think our readers would fight over this category like a dysfunctional family at Thanksgiving Dinner. But time and time again, they’ve declared Pride Counseling to be the Most Faaabulous group of therapists in the state. We wonder if the rainbow logo, name and services specifically geared toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients has something to do with it. Probably.
2. Associated Counseling
3. Don Austin
Most people probably think insurance agents are a stuffy lot, and that it’s difficult to find witty things to say about them. Most people are right. But thankfully, Jon Jepsen is so faaabulous that he makes home, auto and professional liability insurance look downright sexy (it doesn’t hurt that he’s also really hot, by the way). But what makes Jepsen extra sexy is his years of service to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-related businesses, and his service as the commissioner of Salt Lake City’s Human Rights Commission. Protections for queer tenants and employees? Now that’s faaabulous and sexy!
2. Steven Fisher
3. Janet Silotti
Most Faaabulous Social Group
Utah Bear Alliance
Who says that being gay is all about being meterosexual? Certainly not the Utah Bears, who celebrate being big, hairy and … well, it’s hard to define a bear sometimes, but you get the idea. But one thing that is for sure, the Utah Bears have a hell of a good time at the annual Bear Run and the Mr. Utah Bear and Cub contest. If you’re a guy who identifies as, or who appreciates, bears, cubs and otters, scamper over to their website and join up. (We thought that shrieking faaabulous in this entry might be a little to femme for bears, so we didn’t.)
2. Utah Male Naturists
Most Faaabulous Political Group
So, we’re thinking of just renaming this award the Equality Utah is Faaabulous Fabby. And it seems that you’re all for this, gentle readers. But given their staff’s incredible efforts in recent years to extend basic protections for queer Utahns across the state, is it any wonder why they clean up every year? One other possibility, now that Equality Utah is staffed almost completely by foxy ladies, the lesbians are all stuffing the ballot box.
2. Utah Pride Center
3. Utah AIDS Foundation
Most Faaabulous Religious Group
In a surprising turn, the winner of this year’s Fabby wasn’t a Unitarian Church but a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members and former members of the LDS Church, as well as their friends and family. It’s about time this faaabulous group got some recognition, too, seeing as it’s not exactly easy to be a queer Mormon — especially in these post-Proposition 8 times. Keep wending your way with joy, queer Saints, and may all soon be well.
3. First Baptist Church
Most Faaabulous Balls
Queer Utah Aquatic Club
OK, OK. So water polo is really the only aquatic sport that uses a ball. But we wanted to get your attention for this. QUAC is faaabulous not only because it’s Utah’s oldest queer-friendly sports group, and not only because its members have won their (swimmers body) weight in medals at championship games. It’s faaabulous because it welcomes swimmers of all body types, ages and experience levels. And, well, because where else are you going to see dozens of people parading around in Speedos and tank suits during the Utah Pride Parade?
2. Mountain West Flag Footbal League & Good Times Bowling
3. Pride Community Softball League
Most Faaabulous Bartender
Shane Dexter — Club Try-Angles
This 32-year-old tall glass of Perrier water likes running, jumping and skipping … you use what you have I guess. From observation he also seems to like vending machine meals, air mattresses, ripped jeans and losing at pool. Maybe he’s only a tall glass of tap water! Actually he’s one of the most personable bartenders around, with a great sense of humor and an adorable smile. If you haven’t had the pleasure, Shane mixes and mingles Friday-Monday afternoons and Tuesday evenings at Club Try-Angles … he’s simply faaabulous!
2. Ben — The Tavernacle
3. Josh — Club JAM
Most Faaabulous Local Actor/Actress
Charles Lynn Frost — Sister Dottie S. Dixon
Sister Dottie is a personae created by Charles Lynn Frost. His uncanny ability to channel his mother is how Sister Dottie came to be. She’s the patriarch of fictional Mormonism, aiming to make her personae a truth, a reality, a blessing for all Utahns. And that is why Frost is fabulous.
2. Alexis Baigue
3. Jay Perry
Most Faaabulous Leader
It’s been nine months since Brandie Balken came on board as Equality Utah’s interim and then permanent Executive Director. And in that time, she’s lead the organization into a fearless state-wide push for employment and housing protections for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Oh, and she’s also an out and proud lesbian leader, which our community can always use more of. How can you get more faaabulous?
2. Valerie Larabee — Utah Pride Center
3. Billy Day — Utah Bear Alliance
Most Faaabulous Local Politician
Our Most Faaabulous politician for 2010 will, sadly, not be eligible for the award in 2011. Earlier this year, Christine Johnson announced that she’s leaving the State House of Representatives, thereby ending a career in which she’s fought outspokenly at every turn for Utah’s gay and transgender community. At times, her stances have been controversial, even and especially within the community itself, but that’s what we love about her. Congratulations, Chris!
2. Rep. Jackie Biskupski
3. Stan Penfold
Most Faaabulous Ally
Mayor Ralph Becker
It seems like Salt Lake City’s mayor does something faaabulous for his gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents every year. Of course, we’re thinking of his vocal support for the city’s shiny new ordinances which make discriminating against queer tenants and employees illegal. And now that close to a dozen cities and counties are working on identical pieces of legislation, we can say that he’s doing a faaabulous job for all of Utah as well. Now can the ass who stole his bike please return it?
2. Mayor Peter Corroon
3. Sen. Ben McAdams
Most Faaabulous Radio Station
For years, X96 has been reader favorite for its local and indie focus, its programs like Radio From Hell and Todd Nuke ’Em, and for being a radio station that actually realizes the 21st century has arrived. We like listening to Todd and Corey’s iMixes and the Workers’ Union program, whose socialist-inspired graphics have probably terrified more than a few Tea Partiers. Be sure to join the program, by the way, for chances to win tickets to any number of faaabulous concerts.
Most Faaabulous Local News
In our always hotly-contested category, KUTV Channel 2 snags first place this year for its news programs, which blend hard-hitting reporting with just the right amount of friendliness and humor, especially during its popular morning show where it’s not unusual to find anchors acting as goofy as the sleep-deprived viewers who are watching at 5 a.m. Anyway, it didn’t win because Christina Flores and Casey Scott are also two of the sexiest reporters on any beat. Because that would just be superficial.
Most Faaabulous Story of 2009
8: The Mormon Proposition
Utah — and the nation — just could not get enough of this documentary about the LDS Church’s role in passing California’s Proposition 8, and the toll their actions took on queer people in and outside of Utah. Neither could the Sundance Film Festival, which screened it seven times, and neither could our readers — who, like us, are anxiously awaiting its distribution. Now if filmmaker Reed Cowan would just do a film about a faaabulous Utah gay and lesbian newspaper … hey, it never hurts to dream big, right?
2. Kiss Heard Around The World
3. Homeless Youth Pride Walk
Most Faaabulous Columnist
Our Faaabulous drag queen unseats our faaabulous Troy Williams this year for our in-house award, proving once again that you love her outspoken, politically incorrect rants and raves — and her five-inch thick mascara. We love you, Ruby and your little dogs, too!
2. Ben Williams
3. JoSelle Vanderhooft
Most Faaabulous Q Event
Q Lagoon Day
Because nothing is more faaabulously fun than riding the Colossus, watching campy musical shows and wearing red shirts to tell all of Farmington “We’re Here, We’re Queer, and We Are NOT Going to Upchuck on the Tilt-A-Whirl.”
2. Big Gay Fun Bus
3. Annual Fabby Awards Ceremony