Workshops, films, circuit parties highlight weekend; organizers include more events for women
Organizers expect 10,000 people to attend Dallas Southern Pride, the city’s black gay and lesbian Pride celebration that takes place Oct. 1â€“4.
"Hotel reservations are running better than expected," said Val Coleman, who is coordinating the event for the second year.
He said that he expects good attendance despite the economy, or maybe because of it.
More people taking shorter vacations, he said, may be part of the strong interest.
To encourage regional attendance, the group has partnered with Houston Splash. That event takes place on the beach at Galveston and is next scheduled for May 6â€“10, 2010. The Houston group is promoting the Dallas event among its participants.
Coleman acknowledged that previous black Pride events in Dallas have failed to put as much emphasis on programs and events for the women as for the men. This year they have partnered with groups such as Women of Distinction to help fill that gap.
"This year we made an effort to have more than just the parties. We’re doing workshops around the themes education and empowerment," said Angela Amos, chair of the Her4Her events at Dallas Southern Pride.
She said they are planning workshops about women’s health and wellness, financial planning and relationships. Authors Clarence Nero ("Too Much of a Good Thing Ain’t Bad"), Kisa Jackson ("Caught in the Web") and M. W. Moore ("An About Face") will be on hand for a book signing and brunch on Sunday at Holiday Inn Market Center.
But Kirk Myers said, "It’s a circuit party and it’s social. Let’s not try to put lipstick on a pig."
Myers, the weekend’s senior business advisor, laughed as he tried to work in the ‘lipstick on a pig’ comment, adding that he wanted to emphasize that the weekend revolves around a circuit party.
He said his goal is to get people to Dallas to enjoy the city and that most come mainly for revelry.
Despite workshops, a picnic and wellness events including HIV testing, the weekend is filled with parties. On Saturday night, they stage three simultaneously.
The Wet Experience/Wet N Wild: Boys Gone Wild begins at 10 p.m. at Club 2525 on Wycliff Avenue. The Wet Experience/It’s Raining Men: The Main Event begins at 11 p.m. at J. Pepe’s on Stemmons Freeway. The Masquerade Ball from midnight to 8 a.m. takes place at the Warehouse on Corinth Street south of downtown.
Myers said, "The ball is the crown jewel of what we’re doing. A lot of people have not experienced the ballroom scene."
For that event, they are bringing Andre Mizrahi from Atlanta to host.
He said the Warehouse will open at midnight for a party, but the ball starts at 3 a.m.
Amos said that for the first time, Dallas Southern Pride has partnered closely with businesses on Cedar Springs.
Her4Her hosts a kickoff reception at Havana as well as events at Hungdingers on Throckmorton Street and Bengal Coast in the Centrum.
Myers is excited about the close relationship the group has developed with Caven Enterprises. The Mr. and Ms. Dallas Southern Pride pageant and dance party opens the weekend at TMC: The Mining Company. Another party takes place in the Granite Room at Station 4. Both are Caven bars.
On Oct. 3, Slippery When Wet: The Official Pride Pool Party takes place at the Radisson Love Field. The afternoon features a hot body contest for men and women and a fashion show. Designer Antonio Wingfield will be on hand as his line is modeled.
The weekend finale on Oct. 4 is the Pride by the Lake picnic at Bachman Lake with free food and drinks.
The afternoon includes music, entertainment and a J-Setting dance competition.
The host hotel is the Holiday Inn at the Dallas Market Center on Harry Hines Boulevard.
DFW Pride Movement helps expand Southern Pride offerings
Venton Jones said his group, a new non-profit organization called DFW Pride Movement, is planning movie screenings, workshops, vendors and a health and wellness fair for Dallas Southern Pride weekend.
The keynote speaker for the weekend is Christopher H. Bates, director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy (OHAP) at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bates has spent more than 20 years working on public health and HIV/AIDS issues. As director of OHAP, he advises the assistant secretary for health on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, care and treatment, and research.
He will address the group on Friday, Oct. 2 at the Westin City Center Hotel.
Local presenters will offer a variety of workshops. Lambda Legal Regional Director Dennis Coleman will speak about why marriage is important for LGBT couples. Heidi Pyron, coordinator for the Resource Center Dallas family violence program, will conduct a workshop on domestic abuse in the LGBT community. Darriane Martin from AIDS Arms will discuss transmission risks of STDs among lesbians.
Maurice Jamal, the writer, director and star of the film "Friends & Lovers," will attend a screening. Part romantic comedy and Hollywood spoof, part drama, the story follows the lives of three different Los Angeles couples, gay and straight, and their circle of friends.
Gary with the T from 97.9 The Beat will be part of a men’s panel on Saturday. Other speakers are still being confirmed, according to Jones.
Jones said, "DFW Pride Movement is a new non-profit focused on community building," and is a member if the International Federation of Black Prides.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2009.