Aaron Heier is going to jail for you—sort of. San Diego’s PR entrepreneur, talk show host, Gay and Lesbian Center employee and volunteer, writer, and burly beef boy with a heart of help is one of 13 local personalities who will be participating in Sunday’s (4/17) Jailed at the Rail benefit. Held at The Brass Rail, the city’s oldest gay bar, each of the “jailbirds” are kept in a mock jail cell until $1,000 is raised for their chosen charity (Aaron picked the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Center).
The benefit starts at noon, goes till five, and proffers up “hot shooter boys,” drink specials, raffles, and, should Aaron get released, bar time with a pent-up tattooed inmate—“I have no idea how many tattoos I have,” says Heier. “They all kind of go together.”
If that’s not enough motivation to get your charity juices flowing, you’ve got 12 other causes to choose from, and 12 other guys who’ll need help adjusting to the outside. Donate in advance, and the prisoners will be released in time for you to thank them at the bars’ stools.
Heier’s not new to the charity front, he’s only new to the question of why. “I moved to San Diego years ago and didn’t know a soul,” says Heier, 38. “There had to be more to this ‘community’ than just the people I was meeting at bars.”
That quest led to nine years’ work being the front-desk guy at the Center (“I’m like a Walmart greeter with much more responsibility”). Heier’s also the co-host of He Said/sHE Said, a live, online talk show with drag queen Ophelia Later, and a producer of They Said. He also does freelance writing, jogs most every day, boxes, takes Spin class, has his own PR firm, and somehow manages to spend time with his boyfriend, chilling on the couch and watching “Glee.”
Even though Heier’s up and about from 7 till 10 most days, he’s not complaining. “I help because what I get back is three times better than what I give,” he says. “My time is much more valuable than just opening up my wallet.”
Get this guy out of jail, folks. He’s earned his stripes.