Compiled by Stephan Horbelt
For the last 30 years, Frontiers has meant something different to everyone. What individuals take away from the pages of this magazine seems as varied as our eclectic readership. We asked some members of our (very large) extended Frontiers family—L.A. personalities, celebrities, political leaders and more—to put into words what the magazine means to them. Leave your own testimonial below in the comments section.
“For three decades, Frontiers has been so much more than a magazine—it is the glue that holds our community together. I remember when I first moved here in the 1980s and I would have to read the obituaries every issue to see what friends I had lost; I remember chronicling the great political defeats and great successes of our movement; and most of all I think of our amazing community and the people who have been there to chronicle these historic times.” —Howard Bragman, Fifteen Minutes Public Relations
“Congratulations to Frontiers on an amazing milestone! Over the last three decades, the magazine has made an enormous contribution to the LGBT community in L.A. and across Southern California, and I know that it will continue to make just as much—if not more—of an impact in the years to come as it grows in its influence and outreach. I know that Frontiers will continue to give young gay people like me the inspiration, courage, strength and pride we need to make a difference, and I am so grateful and appreciative for that. Happy 30th anniversary!” —James Duke Mason, activist
“The first time I saw myself in Frontiers, I was 24 and part of an improv group called Dangerous Cookies. I knew then that I’d made it! Seriously, your magazine has been an incredible showcase for all people in the community—I look forward to beautiful Shots in the Dark, the comedy of Jackie Beat and love tips from Bethany Marshall. Happy birthday, Frontiers!” —Drew Droege, actor
“Frontiers has been a media partner in most of the stuff I've done over the past 10 years, whether it was publicizing a club night or fundraising for a local charity. Whether it was about Manny Lehman spinning at Wonderland or me trying to raise $100,000 at AIDS Walk, Frontiers has been the one local magazine that has survived and thrived. As much as I love looking online for info, there is something about picking up a real magazine (with a cute guy on the cover and actual articles inside) and sitting at a Starbucks to figure out what is going on this weekend. So, though maybe I’ll be reading Frontiers on my iPhone, iPad or my Google goggles in a few years (Google goggles, not beer goggles) as well as on glossy pages, I hope that Frontiers will be around for another 30 to celebrate and inform our community.” —Tom Whitman, nightlife promoter
“Frontiers has been a big part of my life, for many reasons, but most importantly it gave me the opportunity to write my very first magazine story, titled “Surfing the Pink,” way back in March 1997. My early stories in Frontiers gave me the confidence to go forward with my writing. Since then I have written six books. Who would have thought? Congratulations to the past and present staff of Frontiers. May the magazine continue to educate, entertain and inspire our community for the next 30 years.” —Mike Pingel, author
“I'll always be grateful Frontiers took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to work with and write about so many incredible people during the three years I was on staff there. While it isn’t easy to be a straight girl looking to penetrate queer media, I always felt supported and encouraged to write my wacky puns and campy interviews by my editors Tom Kieliszewski, Alex Cho and Jeremy Kinser. I remember feeling blown away and inspired going through the archives as we scrambled to put together the 25th anniversary issue, and have loved seeing how the magazine has grown and changed as it has entered its 30th year. Congrats to everyone who helped make the past 30 years possible—the readers, the pervs who skip to see the juicy photos on the back pages and to the current editors, who have done a great job keeping it interesting after all these years.” —Lenora Claire
“When the epidemic hit in the early ‘80s, late Frontiers publisher Bob Craig put Frontiers in the center of the response to AIDS. Frontiers became the advocacy tool for us to organize against the state initiatives that attempted to quarantine HIV-positive persons in segregated camps. Frontiers became one of the founding members of the LIFE AIDS Lobby that drafted many of the laws in California on HIV/AIDS. Frontiers continues to be at the forefront of all our battles, especially marriage equality today. Thank you, Frontiers, for 30 years of advocacy and many more years to come.” —Hon. John J. Duran, West Hollywood City Council
“Thirty years into the publishing business and Frontiers has never failed to provide a voice and home for the queer and queer-adjacent art community. Frontiers is one-of-a-kind, and I’m rooting for 30 more years! Happy Anniversary!” —Selene Luna, actress
“For more than two decades, whenever I arrive in Los Angeles, I don’t feel like I really know what’s going on in the community until I pick up a copy of Frontiers and get caught up. Bob Craig was a legendary publisher and the Frontiers we read today is a result of his vision, integrity and inspiration, as well as the dedicated and talented team that has honored his legacy by continuing to produce excellent journalism. Congratulations to Frontiers and to all of us who have enjoyed and benefited from having such a strong and independent voice for and of our community.” —Sean Strub, POZ magazine
“Having my monthly column in Frontiers has been a great opportunity for me to express my ideas. I really appreciate there is a place where education about HIV and sexual health is at the essence of a paper rather than being an occasional after-thought. Here’s to another 30 amazing years.” —Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
“Dearest Frontiers—Felicidades in your 30 jear anniversary! In those jears ju have really shape our community by getting out the gay news, advice, entertainments and letting us all know where is the best Taco Tuesday!!! Our cha cha heels are in the air with excitements for the next 30 jears of Frontiers! ...and maybe soon, ju do a hot cover of jur favorite Angels!” —Chico’s Angels
“Frontiers, indeed. Congratulations on 30 years of standing on the front lines, fighting the good fight and finding more reasons to get men out of their shirts than a discount dry cleaners. For those of us who value the interaction between gay artists and thinkers and the gay audience, Frontiers has been an invaluable tool. Thank you for the remarkable service you offer us as a community, and thank you for taking one of the best photos of me, ever. (I can’t remember when it was, but I am wearing a pink shirt and you put it on the cover. June, 2008, maybe? Who cares, right? But if you find it, send me a copy—because I’m not sure I’ll ever get a shot like that again.) In any case, happy anniversary, Frontiers—I am proud to know you!” —Peter Paige, actor
“It can’t be easy working at the growing edge of gay culture for 30 years, but somehow Frontiers has managed to stick around and lead the way, embracing the challenge and turning magazine story ideas into LGBTQ culture. Not everything rises to the level of groundbreaking, but so much of what Frontiers does is. Civil rights, lesbian health initiatives, trans issues, gay bar raids, sports figures, local politics, California election initiatives, national directions, vacation ideas, HIV, youth suicide, domestic partnerships and on and on and on for 30 years. We all know the list, and for the most part, Frontiers has introduced us to the issues and provides the biweekly updates.
Picking up a copy of the magazine every two weeks provides positive reflections of our lives and our culture and drives home the point that living fully in our world isn’t always easy. But it’s who we are and it’s what we do, and it’s nice to have a partner who has our back.” —John D’Amico, West Hollywood City Council
“I consider Frontiers to be my hometown newspaper. It always serves up a deep-dish slice of the community I call home. I couldn’t have been more excited to be featured on its cover a few years back. Some really fine journalists have cut their teeth at Frontiers over the years, and the magazine always provides a direct line to our political realities here in Southern California. I can’t imagine what a walk through West Hollywood would be without piles of the magazine anchoring the doorways of my favorite businesses. A big congrats to the magazine and its staff, both past and present, on this amazing milestone!” —Christopher Rice, author
“I remember reading Frontiers 30 years ago, soon after moving to L.A. I was not out and so scared that I used to put my Frontiers inside another magazine so it would be hidden from view. Times have changed, and we don’t have to hide what we read or who we are. Thank you, Frontiers, for all you do for the LGBT community. Congratulations to the entire Frontiers family for 30 incredible years!” —Fred Karger, 2012 prsidential candidate
“Congratulations to Frontiers on its 30th birthday. As both a lesbian and an activist, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the writing done by Karen Ocamb. She is a phenomenal reporter/editor.” —Robin Tyler, activist
“As an Orange County college student in the late ‘80s, I remember how excited I was to pick up a copy of Frontiers at the Boom Boom Room on Saturday nights or at Newport Station on Thursday nights. Behind the Orange curtain, Frontiers was the much-needed link to gay-related news that I craved. (I’ll admit to also craving the hot photo spreads.) More than that, it was the nightlife guide for my friends and me. Through Frontiers, we’d learn when we’d have to save extra money to pay for gas, a hotel and the cover charge that would get us into the clubs and parties that helped us forget we lived in O.C.
More than two decades later, Frontiers is as relevant to me today as it was then—especially with the advent of FrontiersLA.com. Though I don’t do much clubbing anymore, I value the magazine’s features and news stories and rely on the great news coverage that Karen Ocamb provides in each issue and online. Nothing can replace in-depth reporting of our community by professional journalists and publications dedicated to covering our community, which is why there will always be a need for Frontiers.
More than a valuable source of news and entertainment, Frontiers has been a generous supporter of L.A.’s many LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations. In fact, since its founding, Frontiers has been generously sponsoring Center events—we’re incredibly grateful for their support. Happy 30th, Frontiers, and many thanks!” —Jim Key, Chief Public Affairs Officer, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
“From the very first issue, Frontiers was my source of information for anything remotely related to the LGBT community. In those years, we had no other sources and we would eagerly await each new issue. In many ways, it created the community, gave us a sense of the possible and, most importantly, real pride.” —David Mixner, author/political strategist/activist
“30 years? Congratulations, Frontiers. It’s official—you’re old! I just wanna take your Botox-injected, adorable little spray-tanned face, squeeze those cheeks and say, ‘Baby, you’ve never looked better.’ Here’s to 30 more years of the best gay this town has to offer. I shudder to think where I would have turned if it weren’t for Frontiers. Before Grindr, before Scruff, it was the Frontiers classified section where a middle-aged rice queen whose interests include mid-century modern furniture and fisting not only turned to find love, but also the much-needed counseling for his intimacy and shame issues. In all seriousness, thank you for your love and support over the years. It’s been an honor to be part of the Frontiers family. You’re like the super hot gay big brother I never had.” —Mario Diaz, actor/nightlife promoter
“Frontiers first came out when I did—30 years ago. I still remember their early rough-hewn offices just above the Mobil station on Santa Monica Boulevard, where I would duck in to snag the latest issue. We’ve both come a long way since then. Thank you for being a significant part of my entire adult life. Congratulations on 30 meaningful years!” —Gregory L. Cason, Ph.D., Psychologist
“I am delighted to join in saluting Frontiers on this great anniversary occasion. So much has been accomplished in the past three decades of outstanding journalism and dedicated service! Throughout the 30 years of its history, Frontiers has played an amazing leadership role while informing the community and city about crucial issues, profound trends, wonderful people and momentous events. Time and again, Frontiers has promoted key LGBT causes as well as useful and fun business and cultural endeavors, thereby raising public awareness while fostering a spirit of community and humanity that has brought countless good people together. Thank you, Frontiers and everyone involved, for your devoted efforts and shared activism. Congratulations and happy anniversary!” —L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th Council District
“After many years of advertising my estate planning law practice in Frontiers, I continue to be impressed with Frontiers’ coverage of news and community events. It is the resource for keeping up with what is important to the LGBT community in Los Angeles. I am particularly grateful that LGBT community clients are able to find me through Frontiers.” —Ronald Lachman, Law Offices of Ronald A. Lachman
“For 30 years, Frontiers has helped define who we are as a community, what we know, why we care, as well as providing a forum in which to debate the issues important to us. With so much at stake at the federal and local level—from employment protections and marriage rights to family services and anti-bullying legislation—it is reassuring to know we have a publication like Frontiers to give voice to our collective consciousness.” —David Bohnett, philanthropist/entrepreneur
“Courage! Commitment! Community! After 30 years of leadership, Frontiers continues to be the conscience and the beating heart of our community. Viva Frontiers!” —MD Sam Smith, CFP, President, Genesis Financial/Creative Employee Benefits, Inc., Past President, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
“For 30 years, Frontiers has brought our community closer together by informing and entertaining us. Although the magazine and website are understandably famous for their lifestyle pieces and sexy edge, the first stop for me is the top-notch political reporting. Under Karen Ocamb’s editorship, Frontiers is a must-read for anyone interested in Southern California LGBT politics.” —Alan Bernstein, Chair, West Hollywood Planning Commission
“I have been reading Frontiers for probably 25 years, ever since I arrived in L.A. on July 1, 1987! What that has allowed me to do is feel more a part of and be connected to the larger gay community, since I have never lived in West Hollywood.” —Rod Pyle, Farmers Insurance
“Frontiers has been the singular media voice of the community as it has transitioned and matured. It has reflected our political and cultural activities in good times and in bad.” —Harlan Levinson, CPA
“For many years, Frontiers has served the community well. It has certainly impacted me personally in many ways. What I have always appreciated about the magazine is that it is not a one-trick pony, but has many streams of impact. Here is political coverage, there is the nightlife and party scene, here available community services and in another section, personal and community transformation. For several years, Dr. Don Kilhefner and I appreciated and welcomed the opportunity to help raise awareness about gay consciousness in our column, “Edging Out: Exploring the Frontiers of Gay Consciousness.” The many emails we received from individuals looking for breakthroughs in their lives and looking for ways to connect with the community reflected the deep reach Frontiers had and has.” —Roberto Blain, Director, Talent Strategies at USC
“Frontiers made my start-up business very successful! I began advertising my home remodeling business with the magazine in 1993, and I have been with them ever since, either in the biweekly paper or the Community Yellow Pages. As an out-and-proud gay contractor, I wanted to work with my brothers and sisters in the community. Frontiers gave me the visibility to do just that, and today I am still going strong! Congratulations, Frontiers, on your 30th birthday! And thank you ever so much for being there for me.” —David Keeton, DC Keeton Home Remodeling
“Congratulations, Frontiers, on your 30th anniversary. You’ve worked hard to become an integral part of our community. You’ve been the resource we’ve used for business, pleasure, events and community building. It’s hard to say thank you enough for all that you’ve done and been for the Southern California LGBT community. Good luck on your next 30 years!” —Ed Butorac,
Butorac Wealth Management
“Happy 30th! Thank you for providing the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin the opportunity to be involved with the betterment of our community. Keep up the good work! Here’s to the next 30 years....” —Jonathan Franklin, Esq.
“I honestly can’t believe it’s been 30 years. Thank goodness for Frontiers... First of all, for being there way before the internet, openly gay celebs, Bravo and Logo. And second, for being part of one of my all-time favorite jokes that I tell when performing anywhere in WeHo: “People, enjoy yourselves tonight! After all, you could walk out of here later and get hit by a huge truck full of Frontiers magazine. And if that happens, trust me, you really don’t want to die with a salad in your stomach or even one dollar in your pocket. So cut loose, order a bacon cheeseburger and tip me!” —Jackie Beat, entertainer/Frontiers columnist
“Frontiers has been the source for LGBT political news for the past three decades, educating and frequently mobilizing us though its reporting. By covering what was happening in Sacramento, Frontiers truly made a difference in EQCA’s work to help pass pro-equality and stop anti-equality legislation by engaging the community and holding those who opposed our rights accountable. Karen Ocamb’s incredible knowledge of LGBT history and ability to get to the heart of a story have resulted in incredibly moving tributes and hard-hitting political stories. I look forward to the next 30 years of Frontiers. Happy 30th!” —Geoff Kors, former executive director, Equality California
“Congratulations, Frontiers! Things just get better in your 30s! You are L.A. iconic!” —Austin Young
“From its inception in 1982 through today, Frontiers has been an indispensable guide to the LGBT community of Southern California. For three decades, the publication has been at the forefront of the battle for equality, thoroughly covering the issues that affect its readers. I have many wonderful memories of the years I worked there as editor in chief, but one in particular stands out. I’d struck up an email correspondence with an elderly man, who often chided me for what he considered to be the magazine’s focus on young men. I eventually interviewed the gentleman and wrote a short piece about him. He asked me to lunch, during which I presented him with the issue that contained his profile. He burst into tears, confiding that he and other people his age often feel invisible. Thanks to Frontiers, people like him are no longer invisible, and all of our stories are preserved for posterity.” —Jeremy Kinser, Arts & Entertainment Editor, The Advocate
“For results, advertise in Frontiers. Congratulations on your milestone 30th anniversary!” —Steve Moyer Public Relations
“It’s hard for me to believe that Frontiers is 30 years old. It’s even harder for me to believe I’m a part of this magazine. When I first visited Los Angeles, Frontiers was more than just a bar rag. It was a window into the gay community in California—and as a precocious lad from Boston, that was more than a little bit of an eye-opener. I brought that knowledge (as well as some sexual tricks I also learned in the Southland) back home with me.
Shortly thereafter, I started writing my weekly column for a small regional gay paper. It never occurred to me that in a couple of years, I’d be syndicated around the country, move to West Hollywood and that Frontiers would be my home base. We gay people talk about pride all the time. One of the things I’m most proud of is being a part of an organization that not only serves its local community, but reaches out to those who are just visiting. It makes an impact—and I’m living proof that the results stay with you.
Where will we be in 30 more years? Who knows? My column’s only been around for 15 years—so I’m still a tyke! Frontiers has always been on the forefront of information distribution. When some of my papers needed me to fax in my column and have someone retype it, Frontiers already had e-mail. When you had to go to your local bar or buy a subscription to have the paper mailed to you, Frontiers had it available on the web. Something tells me that whatever happens next, Frontiers will be one of the first to give it a try. Of course, none of that will matter if the Mayans are right. But even then, I have a funny feel you’ll read about it first at FrontiersLA.com (and probably in my column).” —Billy Masters, Frontiers columnist
“When I moved here 27 years ago, I actually answered an ad in Frontiers magazine for my very first job in the adult industry, Catalina Video. So it’s all Frontiers’ fault! I’m very happy for you for your first 30 years. Here’s to the next 30 and beyond.” —Chi Chi LaRue, C1R.com
“There’s a special place in my heart for Frontiers. I was a freelance writer for IN Los Angeles before it became Frontiers IN L.A. and before I took over at Instinct magazine, and I can say I look back very fondly at Frontiers and what it has meant for the community over the last 30 years. I remember picking it up when I first moved to Los Angeles almost 14 years ago, and it gave me a sense of comfort, a sense of community—and that was important for me coming to a new city, and really just coming out of the closet and coming into my own.” —Mike Wood, Editor in Chief, Instinct
Congratulations and thanks to David Stern and the entire staff of Frontiers for 30 years of outstanding journalism. Over the 22 years of my practice, Frontiers has helped bring Wilshire Aesthetics to the attention and lives of the gay community. I feel indebted to Frontiers for being a constant, consistent, reliable resource for information and assistance attending to the needs of our community. I feel that my decision to advertise at Frontiers has contributed to my practice’s success. Thank you for always going the extra mile and for always exceeding my expectations. —Harvey Abrams, M.D.
"I want to take a moment to congratulate you on 30 years of serving the Los Angeles queer community. It's no small feat for a publication of any sort to make it to its third decade, and it's a milestone that should be celebrated loudly and proudly. While other publications have come and gone, Frontiers continues to thrive because it has strived to both serve and reflect the vibrant gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people and straight allies who make Los Angeles such a fabulous place to live.
I'm proud to have been a part of Frontiers' history. In my time as the Arts & Entertainment Editor, I learned more about who we are as a community and who we strive to be and it's my hope that our staff of committed writers, editors and designers were able to share that experience with our readers. Whether it was talking to a couple that met on a battleship in WWII, bringing on a queer performance art group to guest edit our art issue or walking the streets of downtown L.A. learning about its fabled pink past, my time at Frontiers brought me closer to my own sense of pride and also humbled me as I came to better know the contributions Angelenos of all stripes make to the ongoing struggle for full equality under the law.
I'm proud to see that Frontiers continues to grow and expand, particularly in its online presence. The magazine has never looked better, and as a former editor, I know just how hard it is to put out a great magazine issue after issue. Please extend my congratulations to the Frontiers family-at-large and my best wishes for another 30 years." —Japhy Grant