Uptown isn’t the only neighborhood that can do a proper gay brunch
When Claude Griffin decided to start a Dallas version of Big Gay Brunch, it was mostly because he was tired of waiting for someone else to do it.
“I’ve traveled around the country and seen them in other cities,” Griffin explains. “I had a couple of ideas, but I kept thinking somebody in Dallas would start one. And I kept waiting, and waiting. …”
Last month, Griffin gave up waiting, so he and pal Louis Rad — who was starting his own, smaller-scale brunch group — decided to join forces.
The pair settled on a name — Sunday Funday Big Gay Brunch — and fired up a Facebook page. This time, they didn’t have to wait: That first day, the page logged 45 members. Within the week, that number swelled to 364.
“It was meant to just be a social thing, but it turned out so crazy,” says Rad, who does not sound displeased by this turn of events. “It just became this monster.”
“The monster” is held at the Addison Blue Mesa Grill, and it has evolved quickly (Sunday will be only their second outing). Little wonder: With top-notch DJ Michael Evans, drink specials, free Absolut “sample shots,” roving drag queens and an “official” time spanning five hours, SFBGB is like a nightclub dance party. With quiche.
Evans works his turntable magic to keep the monster energized with “high-energy dance music,” he says … although he gave Griffin and Rad a bit of a fright when they first joined forces.
“Poor Clyde,” Evans says, laughing. “When I first started, we were testing the sound system and I put some Doobie Brothers and Clyde looked like, ‘Uh-oh.’ I told him, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just testing the system!’”
While not playing any ‘70s soft rock, Evans does lean toward a crowd-pleasing mix, which thumps along as drag queen Ivan Trump works the crowd.
“Our drag queen is not only participating in the event, she’s taking part — talking to people, interacting with them. She’s bringing life to the whole thing,” says Griffin.
The idea of a Sunday morning spot where gays could hang out wasn’t unusual, but perhaps the decision to locate it in the ’burbs was. Griffin says that the North Dallas location was intentional.
“One main reason we wanted to have it in Addison is that there is a huge gay population in North Dallas,” he says. “We’re only 10 minutes for most folks, right off the Tollway. People have been coming from Garland, Frisco, McKinney.”
Those highway travelers make sense. But Griffin and Rad point out that folks have been making the trek even from Central Dallas … including the gayborhood.
“Those bitches came in hordes,” Rad jokes, “and they had a blast.”
The event has expanded to include a charity aspect, as the group has teamed with Resource Center Dallas as a sponsor of GayBingo, and also plans donations to victims of the West, Texas, explosion. In addition, the planners have been raffling off items, including iPhones and overnight stays to raise money for the nonprofits.
“We really just wanted to do something for the community,” Griffin says. “And it’s fun as hell. We are not about drama at this location. It’s been about community.”
And, of course, quiche.
— Jonanna Widner
Blue Mesa Grill, 5100 Belt Line Road, Addison. April 28, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. $25.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 26, 2013.