AIDS Walk South Dallas distributes funds

AWSD checks

Walk director Auntjuan Wiley, left,  presents check to AIDS Interfaith Network Director Steven Pace.

AIDS Walk South Dallas distributed $4,000 to its beneficiaries last week.

Kidscapes Foundation and AIDS Interfaith Network each received a check for $2,000. In addition to distributing funds and paying all expenses, walk director Auntjuan Wiley said his organization raised enough to retain seed money for next year’s event.

More than 200 people registered for the walk that took place on March 16 and 512 people attended the event at St. Philip’s School on Pennsylvania Avenue.

HIV and syphilis testing was done before and after the event. Of the 27 people tested, one person tested positive for HIV and got into treatment and another person got back into treatment.

Wiley said plans are already underway for next year. St. Philip’s School will host the event again. The area is one of the hardest hit in Dallas for new HIV infections.

The 2014 walk will take place on March 22.

—  David Taffet

AIDS Interfaith, DFW Sisters to join Barack for National Day of Service

DFW Sisters will participate in the National Day of Service.

We got a very formal email from our friend Travis Gasper at AIDS Interfaith Network inviting us to participate in President Barack Obama’s National Day or Service — and a very casual, friendly one from Obama, signed “Barack.”

“Dozens of Dallas residents are answering President Barack Obama’s call to action and participating in the National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19 as the kick-off to the 57th Presidential Inauguration,” Gasper wrote. “Volunteers will spend the day at AIDS Interfaith Network (AIN), serving meals to HIV-positive homeless and low-income people. They join hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in volunteer service.”

Then we received this from “Barack”:

“This Saturday, Michelle and I are heading out to events as part of the National Day of Service — and I hope you’ll join us.”

—  David Taffet

Thanksgiving meals served Wed. at Resource Center, Thurs. at Round-Up

Local AIDS service providers are offering Thanksgiving meals before the holiday, and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association and the Round-Up Saloon are making sure everyone gets a holiday meal on the holiday.

AIDS Interfaith Network‘s Daire Center provided a big holiday meal last weekend and another today.

For Resource Center Dallas, Wednesday is the day of the holiday meal. RCD has a daily lunch program on weekdays but the Thanksgiving lunch will be elaborate and open to the public.

“It’s longer than normal because demand is increasing every year,” RCD Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said.

McDonnell said they will not be checking client IDs and everyone is welcome. Lunch will be served in the Rainbow Room where the program normally takes place — with coffee and desert in the Color Rooms.

“We have 12 turkeys, our own cornbread dressing and other traditional sides,” he said.

TGRA is serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Round-Up Saloon on Thursday. That dinner is open to the public.

“We wanted to do something special for the community,” said TGRA President Butch Compton.

He said he contacted AIN and RCD to tell them to send their clients. About 400 people are expected at the Round-Up.

Compton said everything’s donated. On Wednesday, volunteers are picking up pieces of the meal to prepare and cook at home. He said he has 30 turkeys, nine hams, 25 pies, 100 cupcakes and lots more. Donations of food are not needed but cash donations to help defray the costs are welcome.

“We reached out to friends and family,” Compton said.

Any money that doesn’t go toward the meal, he said, would go to RCD, AIN or Legacy Counseling Center.

Volunteers are still needed. To volunteer, send an email to Compton.

—  David Taffet

TBRU sells out host hotel in 2 hours

Registration for Texas Bear Round Up is off to a fast start. TBRU 18 takes place March 14-17.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, only four rooms were left for Thursday through Saturday at the The Crowne Plaza, the host hotel, just two hours after registration began. The hotel is now sold out. Last year, TBRU took 36 hours to sell as many rooms. Organizers assure attendees there are plenty of rooms at the overflow hotels. The host hotel requires a minimum three-night stay.

Early registration ends Dec. 2 when the price goes from $98 to $120.

The overflow hotel is The Park in near Love Field on Mockingbird Lane, The Comfort in on Stemmons Freeway and the Hawthorne Suites on Brookriver Drive, a block from the Crowne Plaza. Shuttles are provided all weekend from the overflow hotels to the host hotel.

Among the Saturday excursions are a trip to South Fork Ranch and a newly added Choctaw Casino trip.

Last year the weekend raised $30,000 for area nonprofits including Youth First Texas, AIDS Interfaith Network and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

—  David Taffet

AIN asks for assistance with budget shortfall with Close the Gap campaign

AIDS Interfaith Network is asking the community for assistance in closing a budget shortfall. The demand for meals, bus passes and respite care is exceeding funding, the agency says.

AIN reports that in 2012 it’s on track to serve 26,000 meals to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. By the end of the year, AIN will provide 17,000 bus and rail passes for clients to get to medical appointments and access other life-saving services.

Executive Director Steven Pace is asking the community to make a donation and help close the gap:

Each year, about a quarter of our budget comes from unrestricted sources like foundations, community groups/events, and individuals. And year after year, you step up. You donate faithfully, entrusting AIN to use your generosity where it best fits the current need. Right now, the need is exceeding the funding, so we’re counting on you once more.

We know that many in our community are struggling to close the gap in their own households or businesses. We understand. But we also know that our supporters are dedicated and passionate about AIN’s clients. We can all do something — no matter how large or small — to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

I’ll report back later in the week with our progress. Thank you in advance for helping us close the gap.

With gratitude,
Steven Pace, MSSW
Executive Director

P.S. You can help close the gap the old-fashioned way, too. Please mail checks to:

AIN
501 N. Stemmons Fwy. #200
Dallas, TX 75207

—  David Taffet

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The big news in theater this weekend is the opening of The Producers from Uptown Players. The massive musical stars B.J. Cleveland as a sleazy theater producer who tries to mount a huge flop — with disastrous consequences.

Over at Sue Ellen’s Friday night, drag kings Mustache Envy perform a benefit show. And you can move from kings on Friday to queens on Sunday: Drag Brunch at Dish in the ilume continues to grow. This weekend, there are three seatings for the Sunday Funday meal-and-a-show: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Four queens — Jenni P, Erica Andrews, Jenna Skyy and Krystal Summers — will perform while DJ Paul Paredes fills in the music the rest of the time. A three-course meal is available for $25; add $10 for bottomless mimosas for 90 minutes. Reservations can be made at 214-522-DISH or on OpenTable.com.

Lots of groups are putting the “fun” in fundraiser this weekend, too. AIDS Interfaith Network’s Great Gatsby party takes place Sunday, with Jazz Age chic encouraged. Legal Hospice of Texas is also having its big benefit this weekend — a casino night at Edison’s Dallas on Saturday. You can even get discount tickets if you email events@legalhospice.org before 5 p.m. Friday. The kickoff party for the Boyish to Bearish calendar, which includes a bachelor auction featuring most of the models, is at The Round-Up Saloon on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. And the Texas Gay Rodeo Association is hosting a barbecue at Woody’s Sports & Video Bar on Sunday with food being served starting around 6 p.m., then live entertainment at 8.

On Thursday, you have to choose between the Newcomer of the Year contest at the Rose Room, or seeing Drag Race winner Sharon Needles perform at It’ll Do Dancing Club. Of course, you could try to do both …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

This weekend is jam-packed full of events, several of them very worthy fundraisers to benefit AIDS charities around North Texas.

Hard to believe, but the Miss Leo Party is roaring ahead to its 25th annual event. A traditional fundraiser for the Daire Center and AIDS Interfaith Network, it gets underway at the Hidden Door on Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Expect to have a good time. Then on Sunday, scoot over to Bailey’s Prime Plus on Park Lane for a dinner, silent auction and music for the Be An Angel benefit for Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage. Best of all? It’s just 40 bucks! You’d spend more than that on a meal at Bailey’s (which serves excellent food, by the way).

The Elizabeth Trail’rs, the LifeWalk team for Dallas Voice, will host a happy hour at Two Corks and a Bottle in the Quadrangle on Friday from 5:30 to 8. Ten percent of all sales will go to the ETs, so all you have to do is drink like you normally would on a Friday after work and you’re making a donation. But beyond that, you can win CDs and other swag and buy tickets to a 50/50 raffle. Come support a good cause. And while we’re talkin’ about LifeWalk, the Miss LifeWalk Pageant takes place in the Rose Room on Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The London Olympics start tonight, and apparently the athletes are very gay. Gay people of faith who don’t mind a drive have two opportunities to see the gay Christian music of Jason & deMarco this weekend: They will perform at a Saturday evening event and again at Sunday morning services at the Celebration on the Lake Church in Mabank.

Newly out (and incredibly cute) hip-hopper Frank Ocean’s new CD, Channel Orange, has dropped, and our music critic says it will send shockwaves — not because it’s so outre, but because it’s so good. But Ocean’s not the only gay rapper with a great new disc: Bisexual Azealia Banks’ EP 1991 is just as impressive.

The Festival of Independent Theatres continues at the Bath House Cultural Center, including a play with a lesbian and one by gay scribe Edward Albee. This is also the final weekend to see the critically acclaimed hit drag comedy The Divine Sister, from Uptown Players, with Coy Covington, Kevin Moore and the entire cast mining great comedy out of an unlikely source: The perky nun movie.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Saturday night, the Dallas Bears presented community organizations with $58K in donations

Dallas Bears 2011-12 board

Last Saturday, the Dallas Bears convened for food and fellowship at their anniversary dinner at Celebration restaurant. Through the course of the night, announcements were made about the group’s efforts, the new board for 2012-13 and recognition of various individuals who assisted the group throughout the Texas Bear Round-Up. You can see some of those announcements on Twitter here.

The highlight of the evening, though, was certainly the DB’s donation of $58,000 to local charities. The group doled out the bulk of its donations to Youth First Texas ($26,250), the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund ($13,125), AIDS Interfaith Network ($13,125), AIDS Services of Dallas ($2,125) and the Sharon St. Cyr Fund ($1,500). Check out the photos after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Pekers donates 6,000 bottles of water to AIN

Frank Holland

Frank Holland and Ron Nelson, owners of Pekers Bar in Oak Lawn, delivered 6,000 bottles of water to AIDS Interfaith Network to help homeless clients of the agency beat the heat, according to a release from AIN. The 200 cases of water will be distributed to AIN clients throughout the summer.

“Our clients don’t worry about electricity bills or air conditioning,” said Travis Gasper, AIN director of development. “They worry about having enough to eat and drink to survive. They will have one less thing to worry about this summer, thanks to the generous folks at Pekers.”

Each year AIN serves 2,000 individuals in North Texas battling HIV/AIDS. Half of them are without stable, permanent housing, leaving them in danger when the mercury rises. Proper hydration is essential to staying on HIV medications, which help prevent the further spread of the disease.

“We remain forever grateful to Pekers for their support,” said AIN Associate Director Edgar Carmona. “Their generosity means those most vulnerable to the heat will be able to stay hydrated and healthy this summer.”

Holland said the donation came from patrons and staff. And why did they help?

“Just because,” Holland said. “It was something that needed to be done.”

Pekers Bar just celebrated its fifth anniversary, and has supported HIV prevention efforts in the community since it opened. In addition to its water donations, Pekers has given more than $100,000 in cash to AIN.

—  David Taffet

South Dallas AIDS Walk holds volunteer orientation

South Dallas AIDS WalkVolunteer orientation for the second annual South Dallas AIDS Walk takes place Wednesday from 6–8 p.m. in the Oak Room at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. The walk is set for March 24.

The 2.1-mile South Dallas AIDS Walk raises HIV/AIDS funding support and awareness in the South Dallas area. Last year’s inaugural event had 300 registered walkers and a total of 500 participants. This year’s goal is 1,000 walkers.

The walk begins at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. Registration on March 24 begins at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Live entertainment and activities take place after the walk.

The beneficiaries of this year’s event are AIDS Interfaith Network, The Anthony Chisom Foundation, The Movement and Abounding Prosperity.

For information email or call event chair Auntjuan Wiley at 214-455-7316. You can also register for the walk online.

—  David Taffet