My offer to Aaron Franklin: Move your barbecue joint to my backyard

Posted on 27 Jul 2015 at 2:07pm

Aaron Franklin cooking last month in Dallas. Austin may force him to shutter his exquisite BBQ joint.

A number of years ago, “neighbors” along 75 and Mockingbird Lane complained about the “odor pollution” caused by a local business. The business? The Mrs. Baird’s bakery, which has been there more than 50 years. I called “bullshit” at the time — the bakery had been an institution, and who in their motherfrickin’ minds would ever consider the aroma of fresh bread wafting by as “pollution”? People pay to have that smell put in their cars. I suspected the “neighbors” was SMU, trying to get the land for developm… oh, look! The Mrs. Baird’s factory closed and SMU bought up the land! What are the chances?

Anyhoo, that’s Dallas for ya. Dumb regulations. Forget tradition. But that’s not Austin.

Only now it is Austin.

The website I Am A Texan has a post about how Austin’s city council has effectively launched a plan to ban from Austin City Limits (hey, that could be the name of a TV show!) smokehouses. Expensive diffusers. Shorter smoking hours. New equipment. It would all but ruin the distinctive cuisine of the city; they might as well outlaw live music and cycling. Dumbasses.

I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Aaron Franklin recently here in Dallas. The founder of Franklin Barbecue, winner of the most recent James Beard Award for outstanding chef in the Southwest, and author of a best-selling cookbook is the best ambassador for Texas BBQ the state has ever had, and every city in Texas would kill to claim him. And Austin basically wants him to move.

So here’s my proposal: Move Franklin Barbecue to Dallas. You can set up in my backyard. My only rent will be an end cut twice a day. Maybe a rib if ya got ‘em.


Boy Scouts voting today on gay scout leader ban

Posted on 27 Jul 2015 at 11:57am

Zach Wahls

The Boy Scouts of America will vote today on a policy to repeal its current ban on having openly gay scout leader. Results will be released tonight.

The new policy was approved unanimously earlier this year by its executive committee, headed by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who implemented the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The new policy would allow local units to select their own leaders, so church-sponsored groups could continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians in leadership roles. A year ago, a similar policy change allowed gay scouts to remain active until their 18th birthdays.

Zach Wahls, a straight Eagle Scout with two moms who founded Scouts for Equality, said it would be unprecedented for a recommendation by the national executive committee to be turned down.

Still, he called this vote only a partial victory if it passes tonight.

“Any discrimination sends a harmful message to kids,” he said.


PHOTOS: DFW Sisters 5th Annual Pool Party

Posted on 27 Jul 2015 at 11:14am

“What happens in the pool stays in the pool!” one attendee at the 5th Annual DFW Sisters Pool Party warned me when I walked in. Well, sort of. There are always photos when fundraising is involved, and the well-attended even in North Oak Cliff was raising money for LifeWalk. We kept the photos to a minimum, but let it be known, it was a fun afternoon and staying out of the sun as much as possible.



Audition tonight for a drag show … or just watch for free

Posted on 27 Jul 2015 at 11:00am

ThinkstockPhotos-493250861In August, a new drag show — called My Oh My — will launch, and every Monday night, you can jaunt on down the House of Blues for a live performance. But before that happens, there’s casting to be done! Local drag performers (and hopefuls) are invited to audition tonight starting at 7:30. But these are open auditions, which means you don’t have to have an act get get into the act. Members of the public are free to attend and watch the talent. And it’s free.


BREAKING: Texas Supreme Court halts enforcement of Houston ERO

Posted on 24 Jul 2015 at 11:08am

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

The Texas Supreme Court released an opinion today (Friday, July 24) halting enforcement of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

The court stated the city council overstepped its boundaries when it invalidated a petition to repeal the ordinance via ballot referendum. The city ruled petitioners did not gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot.

“Any enforcement of the ordinance shall be suspended, and the City Council shall reconsider the ordinance. If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance by Aug. 24, 2015, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the Nov. 2015 election,” according to the decision.

The opinion additionally faulted city staff for not verifying differing signatories not having an appeal process when a petition is rejected.

The measure bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also numerous other classes currently protected at the state and federal levels.

The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.

The decision is just the latest hurdle facing the embattled ordinance. The Houston ordinance passed in May of last year by an 11-6 vote. After its passage opponents halted the law’s enforcement through lawsuits and appeals. It has been in a legal tug of war ever since.

You can read the full decision here.

Last year, Dallas voters added sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the nondiscrimination clause of the city charter with 77 percent of the vote.


PHOTOS: The Escobar family

Posted on 24 Jul 2015 at 10:51am

Julian Escobar sent us a number of photos to consider for our story “Physician, breed thyself.” We loved the pictures so much that we redid the cover with a picture of Paloma and Valentino. Here are more of the pictures Julian sent.


Rape and good times!

Posted on 24 Jul 2015 at 8:00am

Haberman-Hardy-I was heartened when Baylor University recently dropped its policy prohibiting “homosexual activity.” So nice the school is moving slowly into the 20th century as the rest of us fly through the 21st. But that announcement that gave me pause to reflect on my brief academic career in Waco.

Looking back on my college days I used to think, “Good times!” In reality they were a mix of good and bad, but the truth is during my freshman year, I was raped.

I enrolled in Baylor right after high school. It wasn’t because I was keen on any of their programs, though they have some great ones. It was because of two things. First, my grades sucked. Now, Baylor is not an institution that one would call a “low achievers” safety school, but I had a way in, as my father had directed the graduate studies program at Baylor Dental School, and with that position came automatic admission for his son. (Those were the days!) Second, because my dad has just died and we were not wealthy, a discounted scholarship and Social Security survivor benefits made Baylor an affordable choice.

I was going through a lot of soul searching when I was 19, and part of that was the realization that I liked men … a lot! I was still interested in women, but it was masculine energy I sought out. It was 1969, and Stonewall was in the news. The word “gay” had come into use and somehow I found it fit me pretty well. In essence, I came out to my school counselor the end of my second semester, thinking he was there to help with both career guidance and personal issues. I was wrong.
After I explained my attraction to men, his discussion turned from what major or minor I should declare to a frank statement, “I think you would be happier at a different school.” My departure at the time seemed like “good advice;” today,

I realize it was a gentle way of kicking me out.

I left after that semester and enrolled in community college in Dallas. I was much happier, so the “advice” was on target, though the motive, I now suspect, was not one based on my best interests.

That news about my one-time alma mater triggered a lot of memories — one of which I long suppressd. Baylor prides itself on its embrace of virtue. Accordingly, when I attended, there was a curfew for all female students to protect their virtues; no such restriction, however, applied to men. And the men were a randy bunch. All that repressed sex drive and lack of available females led to lots of hijinks. (It also led to the highest rate of unwed pregnancies in the Southwest Conference at that time.)

All of which led to that memory — that I was raped by several male students in my dorm room. They were people I thought were friends, and a couple even attended high school with me.

It started as some bad-natured teasing, since a couple of them found out about my attraction to men. I thought at the time they were just playing around, something which happened a lot in a dorm full of testosterone-infused freshmen. They cornered me in my room after a shower, and began joking about how clean I got. Then a couple of them held me down even as we were all laughing. At least until one of my “friends” picked up a bar of soap and told me I needed to be clean everywhere.

With that remark, two guys spread my legs as I was held face down on the bed while my friend began shoving that bar of soap into my ass.

It went from funny to frightening in seconds; his voice changed to a husky growl as he tried to fuck my ass with the soap, telling me how I liked having “something up there.”

The dialogue was right out of a bad porn movie, but was far from erotic. After a few minutes of ramming the bar of soap into me, he gave up. Obviously, it wasn’t going in and they got tired of the game. They left me face down, as I gasped and sobbed on my bed with the door open for anyone who came by to see the queer with his legs spread and bruises on his soap-covered behind.

Good times, indeed!

Funny how a little distance — in this case almost 46 years — gives you perspective. I held that pain and humiliation in all this time until it finally came out. Luckily, I am OK. I am angry that the virtuous institution had no protections in place for a guy like me, but that was a long time ago. It was the start of the real struggle for LGBT rights, and such incidents were so common it was just part of the culture. A weekend spent “rolling queers” was considered big fun and potentially profitable as you could shake down fags in the park for whatever cash they had to avoid being turned in to the police. Good times!

And now … now, my partner and I can legally marry in Texas for gawd’s sake! Times change, and, as they do, old memories are bound to resurface. Baylor lifts its ban on homosexual activity, a ban that sent me off to another school and a happier life, yet a ban that did nothing to prevent me from being raped by my “pals” in the safety of my own dorm room.

Times indeed are changing, but perhaps not fast enough. Good times!
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2015.


BREAKING: Boy Scouts lift ban on gay leaders

Posted on 24 Jul 2015 at 7:15am

890px-Boy_Scouts_of_America_corporate_trademark.svgThe Boy Scouts of America voted to lift the ban on gay Scout leaders. The new policy allows local troops or sponsors to decide whether or not to hire LGBT leaders. BSA will no longer ban gays or lesbians from working for the organization.

“On Monday, July 27, the National Executive Board ratified a resolution that removes the national restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement on its website. “Of those present and voting, 79 percent voted in favor of the resolution. The resolution was recommended for ratification by the Executive Committee earlier this month. The resolution is effective immediately.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement, ”Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization. But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.”

The Mormon Church, which sponsors more Boy Scout troops than any other religious or secular group, said it would re-evaluate its association with the Boy Scouts. Mormon Scout troops do allow gay scouts.




Bang cook: Malai Kitchen reinvents its summer menu with chef’s tastings

Posted on 24 Jul 2015 at 6:00am
Thai Me Up_Scallops_July


When you own a pan Asian restaurant, certainly one of the great perks is getting to do research. You can’t help but be envious of Braden and Yasmin Wages, who take vacations from Dallas to fly to Vietnam and Thailand in order to conjure up new recipes for their Uptown eatery, Malai Thai-Vietnamese Kitchen. The research includes tailoring monthly special menus — so-called chef’s tasting menus ($58) — to highlight what trends in Asian flavors capture them at the moment. The current menu, which remains up throughout July, is worth a taste investigation.

Some dishes on the five-course tasting are stronger than others, but certainly the strongest includes the scallops, served on the half-shell and dusted in crumbled peanuts and scallions. A delightful execution on its own, but on the side, the finish that elevates the dish is a Red Boat nuoc mam, a fermented anchovy sauce that warms on the palate slowly but inevitably. It raises the bar on the meal, presenting the flavor of anchovy in a way that will win over skeptics. Sticky rice crostini

That’s true of the next dish as well. I’ve never been a huge sardine lover, but having tasted the sour sardine salad roll here, I’m beginning to regret that judgment. Wrapped a la Vietnamese spring rolls in a translucent, spongy rice paper, the lime-cured sardine filets poke through muscularly, but once more, the details complete it. Spicy Red Boat sauce and peanuts and both impart savory and soothing, earthy components without overwhelming shock of fishiness you often get sardines.

One of my favorite Asian flavors is tamarind, which is put to excellent but subtle use in the sticky rice crostini. A melange of duck and shrimp, the carrot-Thai basil-cilantro-mint salad is a pop of freshness, deriving heat from house-made sriracha and the faint tamarind drizzle.

Unfortunately, tamarind works against what should be the centerpiece dish — wok-cooked blue crab in a tamarind glaze. Texans are used to getting their fingers sticky from barbecue, but this is on the messy side even for a smoke house, and not wholly worth the effort: The whole crab is light on discoverable meat and it’s more frustrating that satisfying to struggle with it. Luckily, that disappointment is overcome with a platter of interesting tropical fruits — lychee, dragonfruit and countless more with astonishing textures, plys a palm caramel. The platter makes for a spectacular and refreshing dessert.

Wine pairs surprisingly well with Southeast Asian cuisine, and all the tastings come with optional wine pairing; take advantage of it, as the ones are well curated to accompany the dishes. Even on their own, though, the meal transports you.

For reservations, visit here.


Business Insider highlights Dallas efforts to become ‘hot new gay destination’

Posted on 23 Jul 2015 at 3:01pm

BIGBusiness Insider published an article this week calling Dallas “one of the most gay-friendly cities in the U.S.” and promoting LGBT travel to the city. The Dallas Visitors and Convention Bureau seems to be behind the campaign to promote Dallas as LGBT-friendly.

Dallas Voice and our upcoming Wedding Party & Expo are both mentioned in the article. The Expo is presented as evidence Dallas is open for business, especially as a wedding destination.

There’s a link to the LGBT Visitor’s Guide on the CVB website. The page links to several resources, with some glaring omissions. For example, under hotels, you can choose properties by location. There’s a Market Center/Love Field selection and Downtown/Uptown, but not one for Oak Lawn, even though on the CVB page, they promote “Oak Lawn” as the LGBT neighborhood. There should be a list for Oak Lawn hotels.

The page also lists nine LGBT events, two of which are no longer in existence, one which is on hiatus and one we’ve never heard of.

We love the enthusiasm of the head of the CVB who thinks people from states all over the country that have had marriage equality — some for years — are suddenly going to think it’s a great idea to come and get married in a state whose attorney general still hasn’t clearly instructed county clerks to follow the law.