The traditional gift for one’s 30th anniversary is pearls. It is stunning to believe this old gazette is celebrating 30 years. That’s 30 years of occasional pearls of wisdom, but almost every issue for three decades has contained a few gems.
Looking back at old issues, it astonishes the talent that has tossed words down for this publication. I find it fascinating to read the transition from fear, hidden fun and militancy to out, proud and an almost oddly conventional societal acceptance. It is really quite triumphant that this paper was here chronicling it all. It is warm to read the walk from sad, hidden shadow darkness to center stage spotlight. I’m not suggesting we have completely assimilated, but we’ve come a long way, baby, and Frontiers has been there both prodding and documenting all that way.
Those early years were clearly rough just relying on out and open-minded businesses to support this effort via advertising. Today, all LGBT media is supported by cars and bars, clubs and pubs, resorts, real estate and restaurants, docs and dentists and the now giant spectrum of advertisers who realize our commonwealth has buying power. It surely is not overstating the fact that gay media everywhere owes a debt of gratitude for the big assist Frontiers played in busting down those formally homophobic sponsor walls. I’m fully cognizant many of the bastards still may not like us, but hell, as we give them our money, at least we are getting a bit of theirs back.
Editorially, over the past three decades, Frontiers has pioneered some interesting writings: It kept a dying gay nation informed when facts were few, and it helped unite a plethora of our niche communities at a time we needed an army, not factions.
And let’s be honest—it hasn’t always scored. I remember a guy who wrote of shavings from his damned head for a bit. Over the years, Frontiers has put its fair share of one-hit-wonder bad actors on a pretty well-lit pedestal, comparing their work to Brando only truly because they sucked dick from time to time. Some funny old goats and young twinks have all rendered fair to middling convictions of the heart in these pages as well.
This column began eight years ago come August. More often than not, it disappoints, but my aim is always true. I do cop to the fact it is often baffling and boring, but even my enemies admit that over the years, if I were able to get the wine intake and trenchant tic in check, Out & About was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I admit to being fairly vapid regularly and will defend our right to bathe in that if we so choose.
Quite honestly, what this legendary magazine has accomplished in 30 years is astounding. At its best it has been a joy. Beautiful to look at, often exquisitely written, compassionate and evocative. There are years of art directors and graphic designers, editors, writers and advertising geniuses to thank for much of that. They collectively (along with a bevy of others) deserve many thanks for their creative input over 30 years.
And there are also legends to thank as well. Founding Publisher Bob Craig and News Editor Karen Ocamb must be placed in the Frontiers Hall of Fame for busting down walls. They forever are true treasures of our hamlet. And that Hall of Fame should certainly hold a spot for Publisher/CEO David Stern and his business partner Mark Hundahl as well, for nurturing and growing this rag year in and year out.
On so many levels, Frontiers’ birthday is historic. It truly says as much about our community as it does for itself. But then again, that’s the way it has always been and hopefully always will be.
Just like a pearl, Frontiers is a very rare, fine and valuable gem. Over the years it has been a tough, lasting object produced within by soft tissue all around. I am in awe and truly thrilled to have a small voice in it all.
I say we all get together on this anniversary and give Frontiers a huge pearl necklace! (Oh, come on. You know I had to go there.) Bette Midler said, “After 30, a body has a mind of its own.” Let’s hope so. Keep it up, Frontiers! Happy Birthday!